Alcatel-Lucent shows off undersea cable ship

Alcatel-Lucent shows off undersea cable ship

Summary: The telecoms equipment maker gave ZDNet UK a tour of the Ile de Batz, one of its three dedicated cable-laying ships, along with its Greenwich cable component factory


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  • This massive and surreal device is the Isle de Batz's plough, which is used to bury cable.

    The cable can be buried up to 3m under the sea bed, which happens in waters up to 1.5km deep. This is the limit of what those in the industry consider to be 'shallow' waters — areas where fishing takes place, and cables need to be especially well protected.

  • The Ile de Batz has all of the normal navigation and engine systems of any large vessel, but with the addition of specialist controls shown here.

    These are separate from those used for the main navigation and cable-laying functions of the Ile de Batz, and use precision sensors and computers to calculate the strength of the sea and the wind to exactly control the ship's movement during cable deployment.

  • This is Alcatel-Lucent's Greenwich factory — the same site where part of the first transatlantic cable was built in the mid-19th century.

    These days, the factory is used to build three particular pieces of cable kit: repeaters, branching units and power feed equipment.

Topics: Broadband, Networking

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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