Virginia Beach is getting a third sub-sea cable that has the potential to bring 200 new high-tech jobs to the coastal Virginia city. South Atlantic Express International Ltd. will build the high-speed data cable that will digitally connect South Africa to the U.S.
In conjunction with ACA International LLC, the company will also build a landing station for the cables and a data center in the Corporate Landing Business Park on the southwestern side of Naval Air Station Oceana, between General Booth Boulevard and Dam Neck Road.
According to The Virginian-Pilot, Joel Ogren, CEO of ACA International, said he plans to announce job openings soon, including software engineers, data analysts, and cyber security professionals. Although data center are not known for creating many jobs, they grew the market by 3,500 jobs in Hampton Roads in 2016, alone.
The announcement of the construction of a third sub-sea cable comes just after the completion of Marea, the cable connection from Virginia Beach to Spain headed tech giants Microsoft and Facebook. According to a spokesperson from Microsoft, Marea’s transmissions are, “more than 16 million times faster than the average home internet connection, with the capability to stream 71 million high-definition videos simultaneously.”
Brusa, a second sub-sea cable currently under construction, will connect Virginia Beach to South America. When the cables are finished, Virginia Beach will be one of, if not the most, digitally-connected city in the U.S.
The new cable will take around 18 months to construct and install. It will be anchored in Capetown, South Africa and cross the southern Atlantic Ocean to Brazil, then be linked to Virginia Beach.
A second phase for the cable is in the planning stage already and is set to connect South Africa to Asia.
“This is a huge opportunity in the telecommunication community in providing access to the global market,” Ogren said. His company will also relocate its headquarters from Northern Virginia to Virginia Beach after construction is complete.
ACA International will be the onshore go-between, providing telecommunication carriers a connection to the Trans-Atlantic sub-sea cable.
Virginia Beach leaders have been working to make the city an attractive “digital port” on the East Coast. Councilman Ben Davenport, who is now running for mayor, explained that by bolstering its municipal digital infrastructure and making it available to private carriers, Virginia’s largest city will become more attractive in emerging markets.
Davenport has also supported a local initiative to lower tax rates for data center equipment.