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

6 Jun 2014

Hawaiki Cable’s bid to build a USD300 million submarine cable linking New Zealand, Australia and the United States has received a major boost, in the form of a government-approved cash injection. According to Stuff.co.nz, communications minister Amy Adams told a parliamentary select committee that Crown-owned company Reannz was negotiating a contract with Hawaiki that would see it chip in NZD15 million (USD12.7 million) in upfront funding. The money was first set aside by the government six years ago to encourage the construction of an alternative to the Southern Cross cable. Reannz’s total commitment over the life of any contract could be higher, however. Adams commented: ‘We are working with Hawaiki; there is no secrecy about that … At this stage, they tell us they are on track and we will keep working with them until it proves otherwise’. Last week, Hawaiki Cable chief executive Remi Galasso said that he was confident the Auckland-based firm was only a few weeks away from securing the financing it needs to construct the 13,127km cable, having found an equity partner and a bank willing to lend the money. The equity partner is understood to be Wellington’s Todd Corporation, though the privately-owned firm has yet to confirm that.

Sri Lanka’s Dialog Axiata, which entered into an agreement with the Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG) Consortium to land a high-capacity submarine cable in Colombo last year, has announced that it will officially commission the construction of the cable and landing station in Q4 2014. Addressing shareholders at the release of the firm’s 2013 Annual Report, chief executive Dr Hans Wijayasuriya noted that the investment was being made in order to establish a robust pipe to the ‘global internet’, with capacity and speed commensurate with the burgeoning demand for broadband services within the country.

TeliaSonera plans to deploy more than 1,250km of new fibre-optic cable across the north of Sweden to boost capacity on its network connecting datacentres in the region. The new Skanova Backbone North infrastructure will form part of the carrier’s long-haul fibre-optic network and will be built by its subsidiary Skanova. Upon completion, the cable will run through middle and northern Sweden, terminating in the city of Lulea. Because of its cold climate and access to clean and stable energy, the region – located just south of the Arctic Circle – has become an increasingly popular site to build datacentres, with large server farms in need of cost-effective and sustainable cooling. Indeed, Facebook located its first non-US datacentre in the region.

The government of India plans to roll out a new fibre-optic submarine cable linking the mainland with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to improve connectivity to the strategically important archipelago – which lies between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea – the Economic Times reports, citing a confidential note from the Planning Commission. A 1,200km subsea cable connecting Chennai and Port Blair is seen as the best approach to strengthening links to the islands, with the commission ruling out the possibility of extending a spur from any of the three existing Chennai-Singapore submarines cables in light of ‘strategic, defence and internal security interests.’

Oye Guilavogui, Guinea’s Minister of Communications & New Information Technologies, has revealed that the official opening of the local Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable landing station, located in capital Conakry, took place this week. According to Agence Ecofin, fibre-optic infrastructure will be soon deployed to the rest of Guinea’s territory; the new network is expected to enable telecom operators to significantly increase transmission speeds, whilst also reducing prices.

Telenor has confirmed that communications between mainland Norway and Svalbard have resumed after a defect found in transmission equipment in Harstad on 2 June was corrected. The cable linking Svalbard to Norway belongs to Space Norway but is operated by Telenor.

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