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Havfrue: A Googol-sized Mermaid Facing the Book
October 5th, 2018 by miki

2019-06-04 add details of Bulk data center in Esbjerg and infrastructure, add local news items about construction start
2019-05-08
add system summary from FCC application, elaborate on landing point discrepancies between FCC/cablemap, link to docs describing seg. 5 cable lay schedule
2019-03-06
fix links to submarinecablemap.com and some press, add info from TE Subcom experience doc., some general touch ups
2019-01-22
change “Danish Press Coverage” to “National Press”, add “International Press”, add some National about datacenter prospects & International Press items about contractors choosen
2018-10-05 initial commit

Europe, Denmark and my local neighbourhood of Western Jutland is going to get its connectivity boosted by the Havfrue transatlantic cable system being built by a consortium consisting of Google, Facebook, Aqua Comms and Bulk Infrastructure. To quote the announcement done by Google;

To increase capacity and resiliency in our North Atlantic systems, we’re working with Facebook, Aqua Comms and Bulk Infrastructure to build a direct submarine cable system connecting the U.S. to Denmark and Ireland. This cable, called Havfrue (Danish for “mermaid”), will be built by TE SubCom and is expected to come online by the end of 2019.
Google blog post, 2018-01-16

Digging into the details first reveals the projected trench as illustrated in below by some of the stakeholders;

Havfrue cable, cloud.google.com

Projected trench of the Havfrue cable as illustrated by cloud.google.com.

Havfrue cable, te.com

Projected trench of the Havfrue cable as illustrated by TE SubCom.

Projected layout of the Havfru cable.

Projected trench of the Havfrue cable as illustrated by submarinecablemap.com.

 

System Details

More digging into the Danish parts reveals that most sources mention Blåbjerg (Blaabjerg) as the Danish landing point for Havfrue (just as TAT-14), although ComputerWorld DK (see National Press below) relays the information that it will land at Endrup (where COBRAcable is terminated). However, a FCC application dated 2018-05-25 SCL-00214S (pdf) refers to it as the “Havfrue system” and specifically states that a new cable landing station will be constructed in Blaabjerg (as well as in Leckanvy, Ireland and Kristiansand, Norway);

The Havfrue system will consist of three segments. (1) The Main Trunk will connect the existing cable landing station at Wall, New Jersey with a new cable landing station to be constructed at Blaabjerg, Denmark. (2) The Ireland Branch will connect a new cable landing station to be constructed at Old Head Beach, Leckanvy, Ireland with a branching unit on the Main Trunk. (3) The Norway Branch will connect a new cable landing station at Kristiansand, Norway with a branching unit on the Main Trunk.
The application also reveals the following distribution of ownership and control of the main trunk (US<->DK);
  1. each 33.333% ownership

    • AEC2
    • Facebook (via Edge USA/Edge Network Services Limited)
  2. each 16.667% ownership

    • Google (via GU Holdings/Google Infrastructure Bermuda Ltd/affiliate)
    • Optibulk
Ownership of the Blaabjerg landing station will be jointly between the above via the corporations America Europe Connect 2 Denmark ApS (for AEC2) and Edge Denmark (for Facebook) but it will be operated by AEC2.
Other facts from the FCC application:
  • Name: Havfrue (maybe “Havfrue system”?)
  • Design capacity per fiber pair: 18 Tbps
  • Main trunk
    • Fiber pairs: 6
    • Capacity: 108 Tbps
    • Length: 7’211 km
  • Ireland branch
    • Fiber pairs: 6
    • Capacity: 108 Tbps
    • Length: 315 km
  •  Norway branch
    • Fiber pairs: 2
    • Capacity: 12 Tbps
    • Length: 199 km
  • Intended commercial operation: 2019-Q4
  • Landing points:
    • Wall, New Jersey
    • Blaabjerg, Denmark
    • Old Head Beach, Leckanvy, Ireland
    • Kristiansand, Norway
As a spin off of Aqua Comms’ involvment in the Havfrue system they are also connecting Esbjerg to the UK via a new cabled dubbed North Sea Connect.

Google is currently also projecting its own private subsea cables, some of the rationale behind their mixed private/consortium/lease approach are disclosed in blog post from 2018-07-17 announcing the Dunant cable, which is the first Google private transatlantic subsea cable projected to connect Virginia Beach and France.

Bulk Infrastructure

Data Center

Bulk has announced that the Esbjerg data center location will be referred to as DK01 Campus which is described on the about page as follows:

Bulk’s DK01 Campus, Esbjerg, southwest Denmark, will be a scalable Carrier Neutral Colocation data center ready for customers Q4 2019. Esbjerg is becoming a highly strategic data center location with several subsea fiber systems terminating within or nearby. These include Havfrue (US, Ireland, Norway, Denmark), Havhingsten (Ireland, Denmark), Cobra (Holland, Denmark), Skagerrak 4 (Norway Denmark), DANICE (Iceland, Denmark) and TAT-14 (United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark). Combined with excellent terrestrial connectivity, this will make Esbjerg the main international entry point to the Nordics and enable the Bulk DK01 campus to be the natural traffic exchange point.

An article (translated) in the local newspaper JydskeVestkysten first revealed the exact location of the center and renderings of its visual appearence and construction. The location is in Kjersing industrial area North of Esbjerg.

Infrastructure

A further map of the Bulk connections between Norway, Denmark and Ireland has been revealed in an article of Capacitymedia and on Bulk’s own fiber networks page. Also a partnership with Amazon about delivering both connectivity and datacenter infrastructure for AWS has been announced.

Further Information

News / Press releases

From Stakeholders

Construction Documentation

At Cable Map Sites

National Press

International Press

Other


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