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

9 May 2014

French-US telecoms vendor Alcatel-Lucent has completed an upgrade of the Apollo undersea cable system linking the UK and France to the United States. The Apollo system consists of two independent fibre-optic cables: Apollo North connects the UK to the US, and Apollo South connects France directly to the US, collectively spanning a total of 13,000km. Conceived as part of the Cable & Wireless Worldwide global network, Apollo was originally laid by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks, and is now jointly owned by Vodafone Group and Alcatel-Lucent. The recent upgrade use’s Alca-Lu‘s 100Gbps undersea technology, and enables each transatlantic system to ultimately carry capacity in excess of 25Tbps.

Hong Kong-based SpeedCast Pacific (formerly Pacnet International) has announced a further extension of its Tier-1 backbone into Vanuatu. SpeedCast has acquired ‘significant fibre capacity’ on the new ICL-1 submarine cable, which will enable local service providers to supply high speed connectivity across the island. Built, owned and operated by Interchange Cable Limited, ICL-1 runs from Fiji to Vanuatu.

Tata Communications and Huawei Marine have announced the successful completion of a 400Gbps field trial on a subsea network larger than 6,000km. The duo claim that the trial represents an ‘industry-first’ for a submarine cable of this length. The companies revealed they used dual carrier polarisation division multiplexing quadrature phase shift keying (DC-PDM-QPSK) and proprietary clock recovery and error correction technology to overcome the problems of high speed signal distortion and unstable clocks.

According to a report by the Myanmar Times, Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) is ‘still deciding’ on its mooted participation in the Asia-Africa-Europe 1 (AAE-1) submarine cable project. MPT’s rumoured involvement in the project has been shrouded in mystery since the subsea system was unveiled in January 2014, with a number of industry sources earmarking the telco for inclusion. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, last week saw state-backed Thai telco TOT withdraw from the AAE-1 consortium, after failing to meet the first payment deadline.

Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture Government (OPG) plans to lay around 915km of subsea fibre-optic cable between Okinawa and the remote Miyako Islands, and Yaeyama Islands by August 2016. The initiative represents a key component of the regional government’s 2014-2016 investment plan.

The government of Hong Kong proposes to allow China Mobile International Limited to install a 35km fibre-optic submarine cable between Tseung Kwan O and the eastern boundary of the Hong Kong waters. The cable will form part of the previously announced Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) system. Objections can be submitted in writing to the Director of Lands by 9 July 2014.

Pema Choden, Bhutan’s Ambassador to Bangladesh has reportedly conveyed the country’s interest in importing surplus bandwidth from Bangladesh to Bhutan, during a meeting with State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam this week. In February this year, the Bangladeshi government revealed its intention to sell off surplus bandwidth after retaining enough capacity to meet national requirements until 2021. According to the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), Bangladesh is currently consuming just 40Gbps of its 200Gbps capacity on the South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE 4) cable.

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