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What Sets Toptana Apart in the Subsea Cable Industry

What Sets Toptana Apart in the Subsea Cable Industry

Industry experts John Mariano, President of DRG Undersea Consulting, and Joel Ogren, CEO of Assured Communications, shared their thoughts on just what the promise Toptana Technologies means, and what sets the company apart in the crowded, competitive ICT industry.

John Mariano

The launch of Toptana Technologies has generated a lot of excitement within the international telecom community, for a variety of reasons. One of those main reasons is sheer need: as internet usage grows rapidly on both sides of the Pacific, so grows the requirement for increased capacity via more transpacific connectivity. That need is urgent – between 2018 and 2022, internet usage in Asia grew at a rate of 35% CAGR, and the wider Asia-Pacific region is responsible for roughly half of all internet traffic worldwide. The only way to meet that demand is with more cables with enhanced technology improvements, along new or existing routes to connect Asia and Oceana to the U.S. All this makes Washington, a state which hasn’t had a cable land in over twenty-five years, an ideal location to finally meet that need.

A modern cable and the speed and capacity it will offer is a major development, particularly in a state in which that’s long overdue. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, according to Toptana Board member and industry veteran John Mariano and Assured Communications’ Joel Ogren, whose team is overseeing the design and development of Toptana’s cable landing station and backhaul network. What lies ahead – both for subsea cable customers and their end users – has the potential to transform both the industry and the lives of everyone it connects. Together, John and Joel shared their thoughts on just what the promise Toptana Technologies means, and what sets the company apart in a crowded, competitive space.

John Mariano: As someone who’s been in the telecommunications industry for over forty years, witnessing an endeavor that Toptana has undertaken demonstrates the viability of the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) and their interest in serving their nation and others.  I’ve overseen subsea cable projects such as these from start to finish: concept, to installation, all the way through to full operational deployment and are looking forward to supporting the project through to completion. With ownership by a sovereign Indian Nation and with full participation by key members of QIN, there is an environment of dedication to project success.

Joel Ogren: It is incredibly unique and it demonstrates the fact that the Quinault Indian Nation can and should be seen as a people who are innovative and focused on the future. Investing in a tech infrastructure project is a big deal – as far as I know, other Native American tribes have successfully launched and run various tech and telecoms projects, but this is the first time an indigenous nation has done anything like this – blazing a trail by building a cable landing station and an almost 300 mile long backhaul network straddling two states. It’s a significant milestone.

John: That’s true. And, the way I see it, what’s most compelling about Toptana is its goal to go beyond industry standards in many ways – it’s committed to principles of ESG and to help assure technology and communication access that will enhance the livelihood of QIN and neighboring areas. Toptana recognized that in the early stages of such an endeavor it is critical to establish the partnership with established industry leaders, following all the necessary approval and permitting processes, and making business-driven decisions to ensure that Toptana will meet the needs of its customers while also thriving as a sustainable business for QIN. The project is already off to a great start.

Joel: Exactly. Toptana will give customers the confidence they need that the cable landing station and backhaul network will have all the necessary redundancies to offer reliability and the network itself will deliver what it’s promised. The whole CLS will run on reliable, redundant, clean power sources. Plus, customers will have the added benefit of having Toptana handle all the aspects of a project like this that can be, at best, major headaches, or, at worst, complete dealbreakers. Things like obtaining approvals and permits, dealing with the complexities of the regulation surrounding subsea cable installation. The fact that the Toptana team is offering customers a turnkey solution to meet their needs, eliminating the risk of having to handle all that themselves, is a huge upside.

John: Toptana has recognized the missing and needed landing on the U.S. West coast for a cable landing. One of the most important aspects to cable developers such as hyperscalers is the need to have diversity. As this map shows, numerous locations with multiple landings crisscross the West coast. The Toptana landing will represent an important physically diverse landing and a new access to data centers in Washington State. New  transpacific links into Washington will greatly enhance the state’s telecom opportunities and achieve a significant level of diversity for both Asian and U.S. partners.

Joel: There’s a lot of work ahead but it’s exciting to watch it unfold. Especially since this is all taking place in a rural area, and benefiting rural communities…these are areas that haven’t been considered “prime real estate” for cable landing stations, or robust broadband networks. The impact of this is going to be huge.

John: I know I can speak for my fellow Board members and the Toptana team when I say that we’re confident that we’ve got the best team in place to make it happen. We’ve done a lot already and we look forward to the work that’s ahead.

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