Dutch government hires US consultancy for subsea cables study

04 June 2024 Consultancy.eu 2 min. read

The Dutch government has hired American consulting firm Pioneer Consulting to conduct research into the digital connectivity of its three islands in the Caribbean.

The engagement is part of a broader research program from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy to strengthen its infrastructure of submarine fiber optic telecommunication cables, also known as subsea cables.

Subsea cables play an essential role in the communication of data between the Netherlands and other countries, and serve as fundamental infrastructure for the digital economy. Last year, the Dutch government formally recognized this – providing subsea cables the official status of ‘vital infrastructure’.

EZK onderzoekt onderzeese datakabels rondom BES-eilanden

Windward city, Saba. With a view of St. Eustatius

Over the past years, multiple investments have been made around the Netherlands in the North Sea. Four new submarine data cables have been laid since 2019, three of which run to the United Kingdom, while the fourth provides another connection between the Netherlands and Denmark.

The new project with Pioneer Consulting, a US consultancy firm specialised in telecom and in particular subsea cables, is aimed at plotting the existing fiber optic cable network around the Caribbean Netherlands, which comprises Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. The three islands have around 27.000 inhabitants.

In the study, Pioneer Consulting will specifically address route diversity on subsea cables from the BES Islands (and the Eastern Caribbean in general) to global traffic destinations and provide an overview of existing connectivity around and outside the islands towards international targets and the European Union. The report will also highlight potential alternative routes for future development.

Commenting on the project, Iain Ritson from Pioneer Consulting stated, “Over the next few months, leveraging on our expertise and the industry knowledge we have gained from many previous work assignments, we will prepare a report detailing the possible enhancements for digital connectivity to the remote municipalities in the Caribbean region.”

Pioneer Consulting operates out of Hoboken, New Jersey. The consulting firm has since its inception conducted over 200 similar studies on subsea cable infrastructure, mostly commissioned by governments or coalitions.