Kanawa, the new high-speed cable in the West Indies

Orange is completing the deployment of a new fibre-optic submarine cable linking Martinique and French Guiana. Called Kanawa, it will improve connectivity to support the region’s strong growth in digital services and ongoing explosion of data, while improving network quality.

Cable landing

Eighteen months after plans were announced to deploy this cable, Kanawa landed in Kourou in French Guiana on 27 October 2018. It will reach Schœlcher, on the shores of Martinique, on 7 November. The final stage of this major project follows the cable’s installation deep under the oceans, and includes pulling the end of the cable up to the landing point and into the cable termination station where it can then be connected to the domestic network.

Copyright: @Combova

Kanawa in numbers

  • 100*100Gb/s, or 10 Tbs: Kanawa’s full capacity
  • 35M€: the total amount of Orange investment
  • 1,746 km: total length of cable laid
  • 2019: ready for service at the beginning of next year

What will the new cable offer?

Kanawa will anticipate the increase in traffic and diversify the connection points to enable a better quality of service between French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe. This fibre-optic undersea link will interconnect with the existing ECFS (East Caribbean Fiber System) to offer a direct link between French Guiana and the American continent, securing 80% of French Guiana’s traffic. The cable will be open to all of the region’s operators.

“Kanawa”, what does it mean?

Kanawa means “large canoe” in the language of the native Kalina who once populated the West Indies. The name was chosen when a competition was launched internally among the Group’s employees, from a list of more than 1,700 proposals!

The promise of growth opportunities

This significant investment demonstrates the Group’s desire to improve the service quality of its global network at a controlled cost. The aim is to meet customers’ needs by facilitating new uses and services. Submarine cables are an essential foundation for our operator activities and also represent a driver for global economic growth. The arrival of a cable in a region means not just the improvement of the network, but also many opportunities for development.

Limiting the impact of submarine cable installation

As a responsible operator, Orange is committed to respecting the regulation set out to control the impact of our activities on the economy, society, people and the environment. Through Orange Marine, we provide Euro-Agro, a global ocean observation consortium, with the skills to deploy oceanographic monitoring beacons. We also respected the turtle egg-laying season in French Guiana when planning the schedule for the Kanawa project.

Undersea cables laid by Orange Marine

The Group has a fleet of six cable ships through its subsidiary Orange Marine, two of which are the newest in the world: the Descartes and the Pierre de Fermat. This armada puts Orange very much in the forefront of cable deployment, with more than 40 installed on our own or as part of an international consortium. In other words, we’ve helped to lay 450,000km of submarine cables – more than enough to go 10 times around the world!