Unitirreno Submarine Network is to build a new subsea cable off the west coast of Italy.

The company announced this week that it has a Contract-in-Force (CIF) to construct a subsea cable in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The new submarine cable system will cover approximately 1,030km, connecting Mazara del Vallo in Sicily and Genoa, as well as a branch to Rome. The system is currently expected to be ready for service by Q2 of 2025.

subsea cable
– Getty Images

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has been assigned the task of manufacturing the system, while Orange Marine subsidiary Elettra Tlc will complete the survey and installation services.

According to Uniterreno, this will be the first repeatered 24-pair fiber optic Open Cable system in the Mediterranean region built on ‘leading edge technology’. The open cable design will allow customers to select their preferred technology solution for individual fiber pairs. The system will also feature two stubbed branching units to enable future landings in Sardinia and Palermo.

The plans for the new subsea system were first announced in October 2022, though have since expanded. With 20Tbps per fiber pair, the system's total capacity will be 480Tbps on the route connecting Sicily and Genoa, and 320Tbps on the branch to Rome.

Renato Brunetti, president and CEO of Unitirreno, said: “We are delighted to create such a grandiose project which will strengthen the development of the Italian digital infrastructure, allowing us to be an alternative to the current hub of Marseille and provide strategic landing points for requirements from Asia and Africa.

“Unitirreno, connecting Sicily with the capital by sea and with Northern Italy, will deliver additional connectivity and further enhance key synergies between Rome-Fiumicino and the green data center that Unidata and Azimut Libera Impresa SGR will build on the same site.”

Unitirreno is owned by telecoms, cloud, and IoT company Unidata, the Infrastructure Fund for ESG Growth of Azimut Libera Impresa, and a team of senior telecom executives.

Tyrrhenian Sea gets another cable

Another submarine cable system is being developed in the area by Infratel Italia alongside Elettra Tlc.

Known as the ‘Piano Isole Minori’ (Minor Islands Plan), the Infratel cable system will see €45.6m ($50m) invested and connect 21 Italian islands with a total of 860 km of cables.

The installation of Piano Isole Minori is expected to take place this year using Elletra’s main lay vessel C/S Teliri.

Didier Dillard, Elettra president, said: “We are very honored to have been chosen by Infratel Italia for this special project, which will contribute to strengthening the economy of 21 Italian islands and improve the daily life of their inhabitants. Elettra Tlc is one of the few companies in the world capable to deploy or repair submarine cables in all oceans and seas, and everyone within the company is proud and happy to use his or her skills this time for our home country, in places that will really benefit from them."

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