Columbus II and Columbus III, the cables connecting the old world with the new

Columbus II and Columbus III are two strategic infrastructures connecting the European and American continents, crossing the width of the Atlantic Ocean. A journey that starts in Italy and lands in South America.

The name Christopher Columbus, the Genoese navigator who discovered “the new world”, calls to mind the leading enterprises at the confluence of the two continents: old Europe and young America. It is no coincidence then that Columbus was the name chosen to baptise two submarine cables that, crossing the entire Atlantic Ocean, connect both sides of the Atlantic.

Columbus II

Columbus II was the first of the two infrastructures to enter into service in 1994. In total, this submarine cable spans 12,300 km, comprising three segments. The first section, the Columbus II-A, connects Mexico and Florida (approximately 1,100 km). The Florida – US Virgin Islands stretch is covered by the Columbus II-B, consisting of over 2,000 km, while the transatlantic stretch from the US Virgin Islands to Italy (Palermo), is known as the Columbus II-C, and has landing points in Portugal and Spain (Canary Islands).

Columbus III

The Columbus III facility, on the other hand, is rather more unified. The cable starts once again in Italy (Mazara del Vallo) and lands in the United States (Hollywood). The route comprises five landing points: in addition to the starting and final points are Conil (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal) and Ponta Delgada (Portugal). The infrastructure, which became operational in 1999 as a result of the investment made by 30 carriers, spans approximately 9,900 km, is equipped with 90 masts and has a capacity of 20 Gbit/s.

In 2010 the cable was the subject of a restyling operation carried out by Xtera Communication, which aimed to increase its capacity in the Atlantic section. The operation was also designed to enhance the services offered to indirectly supplied African countries.