Aqua Comms and ESnet sign transatlantic subsea spectrum agreement

6 Feb 2024

Image: © envfx/

The agreement will provide ESnet with a dedicated 5Tbps data pipe to accommodate rapid increases in data traffic from science collaborations.

Dublin-based subsea cable provider Aqua Comms has today (6 February) announced a long-term lease agreement for transatlantic subsea spectrum with Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) for 25pc of a fibre pair between New York, Dublin and London.

ESnet is the US Department of Energy’s dedicated science network, helping researchers meet their goals from experiment to discovery. The agreement marks ESnet’s first transatlantic spectrum acquisition.

While the need for connectivity continues to require subsea cables, several obstacles stand in the way of companies operating and managing their own subsea fibre cables. This is where spectrum sharing comes into play. This enables fibre owners to fraction off a portion of their spectrum to another company, giving them a certain amount of control without incurring the full cost.

Jim Fagan, CEO of Aqua Comms, said: “ESnet can be confident in our expertise and leading global subsea engineering services as we continue to demonstrate that we are at the forefront of the technology supporting the needs of our customers with high-bandwidth, efficient network services.”

ESnet’s 25pc acquisition of the fibre pair will provide a dedicated 5Tbps data pipe for 15 years. This will be a vital part of the science network’s transatlantic strategy to accommodate rapid increases in data traffic from Department of Energy science collaborations and facilities, including ramping up for the high luminosity upgrade of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

Inder Monga, executive director of ESnet, said scientific research has entered “the exascale era”, meaning researchers need to be able to move vast quantities of data from instruments to high-performance computing facilities to their human collaborators all over the world in a rapid, reliable and seamless way.

“ESnet is committed to continuing to build a robust, redundant network ready to serve the Department of Energy’s research ecosystem now and for the long-term future,” he said.

Aqua Comms was founded in 2014 and is the owner and operator of the AEC-1 network, which connects New York, Dublin and London via a low-latency fibre-optic network. It was acquired by Digital 9 Infrastructure in 2021 at a valuation of $215m.

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Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic