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

8 Aug 2014

According to internet monitoring firm Renesys, the 46km Kerch Strait Cable – which provides a telecommunications link between Russia and the newly-annexed Crimean peninsula – is now up and running, with Crimean internet service providers (ISPs) receiving their first traffic over the newly constructed fibre link on 24 July. The cable has a reported capacity of 110Gbps, and cost around RUB900 million (USD25.1 million) to deploy. Although construction on the link was completed on 25 April, it has taken state-backed Rostelecom three months to establish inter-provider routes. Services are said to be offered via Rostelecom’s local agent Miranda Media.

BT has started work on its project to deliver 400km worth of fibre broadband connections to some of the west coast of Scotland’s most remote communities. Managed by BT, the deep water work will be carried out by Orange Marine’s cable ship Rene Descartes using the ship’s submersible plough and remotely operated vehicles to bury the double armoured cable in the seabed. Early routes where cable is being deployed have been listed as Largs, Cumbrae, Cowal, Mull, Oban, Ardgour and Corran. The deployment forms part of the wider GBP410 million (USD691 million) Digital Scotland initiative.

Latin American broadcast giant TV Azteca has completed 94% of its planned fibre-optic network in Colombia. As such, the operator has deployed 17,940km of fibre, spanning 667 municipalities. Going forward, the project requires the deployment of a further 1,060km of fibre, which will extend coverage to a total of 753 towns and cities. When complete, the network will cover nearly 80% of the Colombian territory. The introduction of telecoms is expected to diversify and strengthen Azteca’s broadcast-derived revenues.

Alaska Communications Systems has confirmed that its undersea cable serving Juneau, Alaska was damaged by debris generated by an earthquake on 25 July. The cost to repair this facility, while leasing alternative capacity, is expected to be approximately USD2 million.

Satellite and fibre-based connectivity services provider Gilat Satcom, which focuses its business activities in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, has announced the setting up of new fibre routes connecting the cities of Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt to the global internet backbone via the West Africa Cable System (WACS). Under the plan, Gilat Satcom, which has been offering high speed broadband services over satellite in Nigeria for more than 20 years, is providing its new fibre services directly to partners and businesses in Nigeria, it said. The firm is a shareholder in WIOCC, owners of the WACS submarine cable, and is taking capacity from it to its point of presence (PoP) in Lagos, which is itself directly connected by fibre to Gilat Satcom’s PoP in Port Harcourt and Abuja.

International internet connectivity in Vietnam has been restored following several weeks of disruption to the cable connecting Southeast Asia to North America. According to Nguyen Van Khoa, general director of Hanoi-based FPT Telecom which uses the Asia America Gateway (AAG), the cable has been reconnected, welded and reburied under the seabed. Vietnamese internet users suffered a significant outage on 15 July this year when a portion of the cable link between Vung Tau and Hong Kong, which carries 60%-70% of the data transferred between Vietnam and overseas, was damaged. The cut was identified around 18km off the coast of Vung Tau, which is located in southern Vietnam. The cable went online in 2007, running 20,000km from Malaysia to the US.

Telecoms operator Viatel, which is part of Irish-owned Digiweb group, has completed the second phase of its 100G network upgrade across Europe. The upgrade will enable improved services from Paris to Amsterdam, and London to Amsterdam via Brussels, and follows the phase one deployment last year – in which it deployed 100G services from London to Paris. Viatel CEO Colm Piercy said the works quadruple its capacity and is in response to growing demand for high bandwidth connectivity. The carrier provides connectivity and ICT solutions tailored specifically for larger enterprise, public sector, wholesale and carrier customers.

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