The interest in the business model of Open Cables for undersea communications has continued to rise in the past year. Cable owners see the significant value in the ability to separate the cable, repeaters, and wet plant support and monitoring equipment from the SLTE transponders. This separation of “cable” and transponders provides the advantage of choice for customers: cable system project planning and implementation cycles are comparable to the lifespan of the SLTE transponder technology (signal processing improves every other year), and open cables allow customers to defer their decision on SLTE transponders to a time closer to the cable activation time. Separation also allows the choice of vendor to change over time with various capacity upgrades.
For the business model of open cables to be widely accepted, a common standard is needed across the industry. We will examine the relevant metrics, the path to such a standard, as well as performance budgets specifically designed to support the open cable business model. We will also examine the key system parameters that are needed to maximize interoperability and ensure that the delivered system meets the customer expectation.
Finally, we will discuss some of the challenges to this business model, from a commercial as well as a technical perspective, and how the industry will overcome these to make open cables a reality.