Submarine cables are the backbone of the international electronic communications network and the life blood of world commerce. Almost all of the transoceanic Internet, electronic commercial interchange, and public communications traffic is sent via these cables.
Currently Malta is connected to the global Internet grid by four submarine fibre cables that all land in Sicily. The shortcoming posed by this topology is that traffic has to pass through a number of hops, resulting in latency, until it arrives to “more connected” Internet points. While this latency has no implications to most of the Internet users, it jeopardises the sustainability and further development of the e-Gaming, financial and other knowledge and ICT based service industries.
The Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) aims to help Europe's citizens and businesses to get the most out of digital technologies. It is the first of seven flagships initiatives under Europe 2020, the EU's strategy to deliver smart sustainable and inclusive growth. The EU has placed the deployment of ultra‐fast broadband access infrastructures and connectivity as one of the major political and strategic goals of this decade. It is crucial to have networks with the necessary coverage, quality and speed to support current and future demands, to increase the ability to innovate, to access new services with greater added value, or to transfer the benefits derived from digital economy to the whole of society.
Robust, reliable and fast connectivity enables new, more effective, and efficient business models; new ways of producing and trading products and services; new forms of communication and relationship among citizens, businesses and public Administration bodies; new applications of the emerging Internet of Things technologies, new business opportunities driven by Cloud Computing, ultimately new ways to be more productive, more competitive and build the future together.
Malta considers it essential to promote the deployment of ultra‐fast broadband networks and robust and reliable international connectivity in line with the goals of the Digital Agenda for Europe. By means of the feasibility study, Malta will ensure that its connectivity is efficient and competitive, offering the best services at the best price, thus contributing to improve the country’s competitiveness.
The Malta Communications Authority is embarking on detailed technical, economical, and financial feasibility study for a new submarine cable connecting Malta to other alternative locations with the objective of enhancing the resilience and quality of the current international electronic communications connectivity. The aim of the study is to identify the best strategies for deployment and compare the various models and recommendations for the optimal technical, commercial and financial solution. The study is being financed by Technical Assistance funds from the European Regional Development Cohesion Fund.
UPDATE 12/06/15 - MCA seeks stakeholders’ views on the establishment of a new submarine cable link for Malta
Further to the announcement made last January with regard to the undertaking of a detailed technical, economical, and financial feasibility study for the laying of a new submarine cable connecting Malta to other alternative locations, the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) has today published a ‘Request for Information’ document in order to seek the views of interested parties, particularly those of owners of existing submarine cables, organisations planning new submarine cables, telecommunications operators, submarine cable vendors and installation and maintenance providers, as well as those of end-users.
Interested parties are invited to submit their response to a number of questions put forward by the Authority, which are related to the existing infrastructure, destination, demand, topology, financing and operating models, associated risks and potential alternative solutions. This exercise is being undertaken as part of the data gathering activities of the study, which is currently underway, in order to get a broader view of the subject and therefore lead to a more detailed analysis.
The aim of the study is to identify the best strategies for deployment of a new submarine cable and compare the various models and recommendations for the optimal technical, commercial and financial solution in order to enhance the resilience and quality of the current international electronic communications connectivity. This is critical if Malta is to remain on the map as the leading EU knowledge economy. Such an initiative would accelerate the evolution of the economy and make Malta a more attractive location in which to develop new and innovative business opportunities, whilst efficiently catering for emerging markets.