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North Sea Optical Networks Linked

Photonics.com
Nov 2005
OSLO, Norway, Nov. 15 -- North Sea Communications AS, an independent telecommunications operator in the North Sea region and a TeliaSonera subsidiary, has made interconnection agreements with the Statoil-owned TampNett network, of Norway, and Central North Sea Fibre Telecommunications Co. Ltd., owned by BP UK, to link their optical networks in the North Sea.

More than 1 billion Norwegian krone has been invested in the three major North Sea optical networks, which are now capable of serving cross-border customers. Telecom traffic is already flowing from TampNett, via North Sea Communications (NSC) and CNSFTC, to Aberdeen, Scotland. NSC said it is also establishing a new node in Houston, Texas, to serve the oil and gas industry. NSC, TampNett and CNSFTC have had fiber optical networks installed in the North Sea since the late 1990s.

NSC has a main link between Stavanger (Norway) and London, via the oil fields Draupner, Ula, Ekofisk, Valhall and Murdoch. TampNett connects Kollsnes on the Norwegian mainland, with the oil fields Troll, Kvitebjorn, Gullfaks and Snorre, and south to the oil fields Oseberg, Heimdal, Grane, Sleipner and Draupner. CNSFTC links Aberdeen, Cruden Bay, Forties and Everest with the Ula platform, located northeast of Blane in Norway.

NSC now connects the networks through its Norwegian nodes at Draupner and Ula; it also has interconnection agreements with the other optical cable owners enabling traffic to flow between all nodes in the networks, which also enables direct, low-latency communications between offshore facilities and on-shore offices and operation centers.

Harald Nordstrand, managing director of North Sea Communications, said fiber optic communication is becoming more and more important for these offshore operations.

"Now, a number of installations can be supplied with such end-to-end communications by a single telecom operator, such as one of the three network owners," he said.

The first user to benefit from the linked networks, a major US oil company, enters TampNett via a microwave system. NSC takes the traffic from Draupner to Ula in its network, then uses the CNSFTC network to terminate the traffic in Aberdeen. North Sea Communications has measured the latency in its Stavanger-Aberdeen as less than 4.3 milliseconds, which by far outperforms any land-based link between Norway and the UK, Nordstrand said.

"The integrated optical networks in the North Sea will be very useful for companies operating in several countries and locations and requiring real-time data transmission with low latency over secure networks," Nordstrand said. "That's why we are also establishing a node in Houston, using TeliaSonera International Carrier's own optical network from our own node in London."

Many platforms in the North Sea can be linked to the existing optical networks by microwave radio or new optical submarine cables. North Sea Communications said it will soon introduce a technology for laying a thin optical fiber cable between platforms that will reduce the investment in new access lines.

For more information, visit: www.norseacom.com



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