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

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.

 

 

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 Press Coverage 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. 33.333%
    • AEC2
    • Facebook (via Edge USA/Edge Network Services Limited)
  2. 16.667%
    • 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.
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.

Contractor/Supplier/Stakeholder Information

At Cable Map Sites

Danish Press Coverage

Other

 

Hyperscale data center coming to Esbjerg
Jun 13th, 2018 by miki

2018-10-04 add Local and National Press item about Amsterdam trip and announcing Facebook as the developer
2018-09-06
add Local Press item about downscaling and older national press, reorder press items (top=latest)
2018-08-19 add Local Press item and Official Documentation section about housing abandonment
2018-08-01
add Local Press item with letter to editor
2018-06-13
updated with 1 new local + 1 new national press, rewrite first paragraphs, mention project name, mention DDI trade association, mention investindk & havfrue cable
2018-06-12 initial commit

Project Ember?

The local media of Western Jutland, JydskeVestkysten, has spearheaded the coverage of an interesting technology related story over the last weeks. The Esbjerg municipality planning departments has started to reveal details of the preparations for the development of an industrial site on a large swath of land just outside of Esbjerg seemingly for the purpose of a hyperscale data center of the proportions employed by FANG sized (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) organizations. According to the media the project is by some municipal sources referred to as “Project Ember“. I have been unable to confirm this name from official documentation yet released or any other sources.

Neither the newly formed trade association named Danish Data Center Industry (DDI/DanishDCI) (in Danish: “Datacenter Industrien“) or the state’s Invest in Denmark office has brought any more light to the issue. The former has, however, tweeted a couple of times about it when it hit the national media and the latter has brought forward a vague hint that Western Denmark is an “attractive data centre hub“. I’m not in any doubt that this is partly driven by the announcement of the “HAVFRUE consortium“, which includes Facebook, that they intend to install a 108 Tb/s transatlantic cable crossing from New Jersey to Ireland and Esbjerg, as also announced by Invest in Denmark in January.

Below is an outline of the area in question (on an OpenStreetMap based map using the umap project) that I have drawn from the only geographical details yet leaked which is contained in the meeting agenda mentioned below. See also a visualisation of the area on a photo taken by local photographer Christer Holte.

I have collected links to all official documentation I have been able to locate and to press coverage below, and intend to keep updating this post as details is being revealed.

See full screen

Official Documentation

  • 2018-05-28: Area mentioned in agenda/minutes for 2018-06-01 meeting in Municipal Technical & Construction committee (Teknik & Bygge-udvalg)
    • Details in item 7 “Closure of public and private roads in Andrup” (Danish: “Nedlæggelse af offentlige og private fællesveje ved Andrup”), p. 14-16 (case referred to as “Dok.nr.: 11186”, “Sagsid.: 18/12587”)
    • Area is referred to as “a contiguous area laid out for commercial purposes
    • Includes map with outline of area
    • Suggests public roads being closed for cars, new cycling paths being constructed passing North of area
    • Approved by the committee
  • 2018-06-01: Public hearing announced (Google Translate’d) (original) about changed use of the area
    • Hearing closes 2018-06-15 (14 day period)
    • Accompanying report about environmental impact (VVM) discloses even more details
      • Area referred to as used for “establishing of extraordinary space consuming commercial entity near Esbjerg in the form of a data center” (ch. 2, p. 8)
      • Total area: 250 ha = 2’500’000 m2 (1 hectare = 10’000 m2) (ch. 2.2, p. 8)
      • Building area: “Current project entails approx. 250’000 m2 under roof with 200’000 m2 data warehouses and  50’000 m2 administration, logistics and service buildings, in addition to one or two 150 kV high voltage substations, each of approx. 30’000 m2 and diesel emergency power facilities of 6’500 m2” (ch. 2.3, p. 9)
      • Heat surplus: “Planning will leave open the possibility of reusing surplus heat produced at the facility, however no such plan exist at the moment” (ch. 2.3, p. 9)
  • 2018-08-07: Area mentioned in agenda/minutes for 2018-08-07 meeting in Municipal Planning & Environment committee (Plan & Miljø-udvalg)
    • Details in item 9 “Demolition of housing – Nordre Tovrupvej 21 and 26, Esbjerg” (Danish: “Nedlæggelse af boliger – Nordre Tovrupvej 21 og 26, Esbjerg”), p. 21-22 (case referred to as “Dok.nr.: 11768”, “Sagsid.: 18/20401”)
    • Requests that the committee approve liquidation and demolition of two current municipality owned rental houses in the area for the possible sale of the area for commercial purposes
    • Current inhabitants are willing to agree to voluntarily leave the rentals, but such formal agreements have not yet been established
    • Technical & Construction Committee assesses that the liquidation and subsequent sale of the aree will have a positive impact and is not outside current statutes
    • Approved by the committee

Local Press

National Press

International Press

Google Play; no interaction with policy breaking app provider
Aug 8th, 2012 by miki

When dealing with policy enforcement for products that you distribute from business partners and whose sales your organization directly profits from, you’d think that you’d want to engage in some kind of communication with your peers before making drastic moves like shutting down distribution of these products. Especially when your peer is a national lottery organization partly owned by a European state, who is strictly professional about their business and which probably has a non-significant turnover facilitated by the product.

Well, if your are Google and runs the Google Play software distribution system for the Android platform, you apparently couldn’t care less. At least that is what a move today by Google implies, when banning an Android gaming app by Danske Spil, the national Danish lottery, who has a governement enforced monopoly on lottery in Denmark. This was done without any interaction with Danske Spil which of course was taken by surprise when realizing this, as reported (GTrans) by Danish tech magazine Version2.

Admittedly, as it stands now from an objective point of view, the app clearly breaks the content policy of Google Play which states that “We don’t allow content or services that facilitate online gambling”. So the real question, apart from the peculiar  behaviour of Google towards this app provider for Google Play, is for Danske Spil; “How on earth did you think you could distribute an app through Google Play which so blatantly is in direct violation of the content policy?”.

Maybe the endorsement by the Danish legislation has risen to their heads, making them think their monoploy in Denmark made them so special that they could ignore Google’s standard policies? The current response from Danske Spil is that the app had been previously “approved” by Google, whatever that means because to my knowledge there is no verification procedure as such for content on Google Play (that’s a point for further investigation when time permits) .

At the moment not only the app itself, but also the provider page for Danske Spil A/S is inaccessible at Google Play, even though marketing from Danske Spil still tries to lure new users to the lotteries provided by the app, both from the web, TV and electronic billboards.

If your business model relies on outside partners (and which doesn’t?), this might be a good occasion to take the time for a second thought about what dependencies it has. And especially who is in the power to pull the carpet below it without interacting with you.

If I had a business with parts, components or services not under my in complete control, I’d prefer a partner which had a fellow human representing him, with which I could meet and look into his eyes. That way a social bond is created, which hopefully increases the probability that I will know if anything is about to happen that affects my business.

Street View Googling Denmark again
Aug 19th, 2010 by miki

Just saw the Google Street View car driving by at my daily whereabouts in Esbjerg, Denmark. Did get a little exhilerated and spilled some coffee in excitement and attempt to wave at the cameras (Hi mom!!) . Here’s a shot of the car taken by itself when passing my home at it’s last visit in 2009.

Apparently Google Streetview has started collecting data again here i Denmark, as they did in Norway, Sweden, Ireland and South Africa in July. Now with the Wi-Fi privacy issue resolved.

The following netfrenzy brought me to the official schedule at http://www.google.dk/help/maps/streetview/where-is-street-view.html which shows some mid to large sized cities in Denmark beeing up for an update, including Esbjerg. Strangely I haven’t noticed any lack of imagery in my local area. I know that most of Denmark was beeing photographed during July and August 2009, so something must be missing, or of inferior quality since they are coming back.

I also found a fun Street View Partner site; Legoland in California has allowed Street View to take a tour through the park. Fun for me, because the Lego Group HQ and original Legoland Billund is close to Esbjerg, and I have been going there regularly wiht the kids. Going to be fun to take them for a virtual walk in the park in California ;). The Billund park doesn’t seem to have been mapped internally, though.

Also a hilarious joke on Google Streetview from an interesting group of people; The Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.) Lab. Will be digging these nutty people out for sure.

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