SubTel Forum Issue #117 Exordium

Welcome to Issue 117, our Finance & Legal edition.

March 15, 2021

Sterling, Va – An industry friend called me recently. Apparently, their employer is being acquired and they decided they did not want to stick around to see the show, and so, they have decided to go off on their own for a while before landing elsewhere. Many of us have been there before, if not multiple times. I have had similar, numerous calls over the months and it is interesting to see how the puzzle is constantly being reshaped.

There seems to be a rash of new transactions going on in the market; maybe it is a holdover from the last year’s pandemic and companies are simply catching up to normal activity, or maybe it is a sign of the future for a while. As someone who never really mastered the skill of reconciling a checkbook, I watch the whole finance side of our business with fascination and awe. My long-ago Economics degree empowers me to understand the basics of various deals, but I get usually lost somewhere deep in the minutia.

I recently felt nostalgic and googled my college mentor. He was a Korean émigré who had escaped the North during the war and then found himself in the US as a leading and much sought after foreign policy expert. From him I learned my first few Latin phrases, such as pacta sunt servanda, “agreements must be kept”, or rebis sic stantibus, “things standing thus”, the latter stipulating that, where there has been a fundamental change of circumstances, a party may withdraw from or terminate the treaty in question. He and I lost touch soon after I graduated; we had had a falling out over the topic and timing of my master’s thesis and he wanted me to stick around for a third year. With my wife, Peg, working the midnight shift at the only restaurant open after the bars closed I was inclined not to let off the steam. So, I repackaged a committee and topic, and wrote, defended, and published my thesis in time for graduation that May. But in so doing I lost the relationship with the man I studied under for years of international law, foreign policy, and the like. Google says he lived well into his 90s, received numerous accolades from the foreign policy world and numerous presidents, and looks to have lived a good life.

Sometimes you can’t stick around to see the show.

Today, I am watching (and commenting when asked) my daughter write her PhD dissertation. Her mentor is a leading EU policy scholar and expert, and I expect she will finish the considerable undertaking later this year. Her life is no less complicated than mine at that time, but she has the economic means to better organize and control the pieces of the puzzle around her, which at the end of the day is all any of us are really trying to do… especially these days.

The Finance & Legal issue was always the hardest issue for us to fill; at least it used to be, but today we have numerous excellent articles from several international authors. Finance & Legal is a very specific topic, which is often overlooked or not considered early enough in a project cycle. Our authors have highlighted frequent issues inherent in the implementation of submarine cables, and even a few solutions.

Thanks especially to Stewart Ash and Bill Burns, who have been our staunch Back Reflection authors for a number of issues and have provided some amazing historical perspective to our 170 plus year old industry. Their piece herein is their final installment, and we wish them well going forward. Stewart, in particular, has been one of my industry mentors for the last 30 plus years, and I still feel fortunate to be working with him on future consulting challenges.

In addition, our most recent and significantly updated Submarine Cable Almanac was recently published and available for viewing and download.

Of course, our ever popular “where in the world are all those pesky cableships” is included as well.

Good reading and stay well.

WayneSignature - SubTel Forum Issue #117 Exordium

Wayne Nielsen,


To read the rest of Issue #117 of SubTel Forum, please click here.