Cable compendium: a guide to the week’s submarine and terrestrial developments

21 Mar 2014

Telecom Italia (TI) is considering buying a stake in Milan-based fibre-optic wholesaler Metroweb to boost its broadband service, three people familiar with the matter have revealed to Bloomberg. TI may initially seek a holding of under 50% for around EUR300 million (USD413 million) to avoid potential anti-trust hurdles. A potential seller could be infrastructure fund F2i, which currently owns a 54% controlling stake in Metroweb. At 5,100km in length, Metroweb claims to have the ‘most widely extended metropolitan network in Europe’. Although the infrastructure is concentrated in Milan, it connects to some of the biggest cities in northern Italy, including: Bologna, Turin, Verona, Vicenza and Genoa.

Brazilian telco Oi has claimed that it is the first operator in the country to cover all 26 states with fibre, following its deployment in Amapa, northern Brazil. The rollout was completed in conjunction with power utility Eletronorte, state-backed telco Telebras and Guyacom, a telecoms operator based in neighbouring French Guiana. The total infrastructure in Amapa spans 800km, although half of this corresponds to an existing network owned by Eletronorte. Following the deployment, Oi boasts fibre-optic infrastructure in around 4,850 municipalities.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has given Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) 13 more years to operate and maintain a terminal of the Asia-America Gateway (AAG), which connects south-east Asia and the US. The NTC granted PLDT a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to run the AAG Philippine Terminal Station La Union until the telecoms firm’s franchise expires in November 2028. The permit replaces the provisional authority that the NTC granted in 2007, which initially expired in June 2009, before being extended until June 2015.

Bharti Airtel has upgraded its i2i submarine network between Chennai, India and Tuas, Singapore with 100Gbps technology from Ciena Corp, it has been revealed. The 3,200km undersea cable network, which was launched in 2002, now sports 100G ROADM-based infrastructure that both increases capacity and improves service agility and resiliency, the vendor claims.

NEC has delivered a 100Gbps transponder to Internexa, a new South America-focused carrier which has already unveiled its commercial operations in Colombia. Internexa, which is as an affiliate of the ISA, is building a wholesale transmission network spanning 28,000km across Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. The terrestrial fibre network is primarily mounted on electrical transmission infrastructure.

Level 3 Communications is planning a new undersea cable connecting the Pacific coast of Colombia to its international undersea network. The project will reduce Colombia’s reliance on international fibre connectivity via its Caribbean coast. The terrestrial segment of the cable in Colombia is being constructed in conjunction with Empresas Municipales de Cali (EMCALI), a state-owned utility firm, which will construct the terrestrial portion linking the coast to the city of Cali, Colombia.

Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) of Russia has deployed a 5,300km fibre backbone stretching from the Siberian Federal District to the Far East Federal District, the company has announced. The fibre was laid along the Baikal-Amur Mainline Railway, to link the city of Taishet with Komsomolsk-on-Amur, with a second deployment along the route of the Trans-Siberian Railway – from Komsomolsk-on-Amur to the port of Nakhodka. The new infrastructure will allow the operator to increase the capacity of its channels serving the Far East to 400Gbps.

Cameroon’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) has launched a tender to find a ‘specialised firm’ willing to perform an audit on the construction of MTN Cameroon’s West Africa Cable System (WACS) landing station in Limbe, near Douala. Bids must be submitted to the MPT’s Special Commission for Procurement by 10 April 2014. Previously, on 27 November 2013, MTN Cameroon transferred its ownership of the landing station to the Cameroon government.

Liberty Global has broken off talks to buy UK B2B broadband firm Daisy Group, after balking at the GBP500 million (USD826.2 million) price tag, the Financial Times reports. The deal would have been Liberty’s first UK acquisition since it paid USD23.3 billion for Virgin Media, a move that gave it a large foothold in the country’s consumer broadband market.

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