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

29 Aug 2014

A consortium of seven global telecoms operators have agreed to cooperate in the construction and operation of the new 15,000km, USD250 million Southeast Asia-United States (SEA-US) submarine cable system. The list of partners has been confirmed as Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Globe Telecom, RAM Telecom International (RTI), Hawaiian Telcom, Teleguam Holdings (GTA), GTI Corporation (a member of the Globe Telecom group of companies) and Telkom USA, while NEC of Japan has been selected as the system supplier. The cable system will land at Manado (Indonesia), Davao (Philippines), Piti (Guam), Oahu (Hawaii, US) and Los Angeles (California, US). When completed in the fourth quarter of 2016, the cable will provide an additional 20Tbps capacity, connecting Indonesia and the Philippines to the US with 100Gbps technology. The capacity will cater to the exponential growth of bandwidth demand between both continents.

According to the Times of Oman, Omantel has revealed plans to invest USD31 million in the construction of a landing station for the Asia-Africa-Europe (AAE-1) submarine cable in Marseilles, France. Upon completion, the landing station will represent the first such facility operated by Omantel outside of its home market. Talal bin Said bin Marhoon Al Mamari, chief executive officer of Omantel, told journalists: ‘Our share in the consortium is USD40 million, and the investment for the landing station alone is USD31 million, taking the total investment to USD71 million … We expect new business [relationships] in Europe, since we will be able to serve operators in Europe and the rest of the world through the landing station. It also opens a new door to the wholesale business … Omantel will have a stake in eleven such transnational marine cable networks by 2015. We are aiming to make Oman a central hub, connecting east with west. The strategic location and political stability are two major factors that helped Oman attract landing stations to the country.’

The government of Bangladesh has reportedly agreed a loan contract worth USD44 million with Islamic Development Bank, as part of its preparations to participate in the SEA-ME-WE 5 submarine cable deployment. Bangladesh expects to invest around USD72.5 million in the new cable, of which USD40 million will go towards the core cable, and the remainder will be used to bankroll the branch link. Monwar Hossain, managing director of Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL), commented: ‘We had been trying to get the loan for the last couple of years and finally the contract was signed.’ Hossain noted that the BSCCL has already invested USD19.2 million in the projects, after tapping its own cash reserves.

Tata Communications and Roke Telkom of Uganda have launched a new point of presence (PoP) in Kampala, with Tata’s vice president James Walker noting that the partnership is ‘in line with Tata’s emerging markets strategy, helping global businesses to capitalise on growth opportunities in these markets.’

South Africa-based MTN Group has conducted a live trial of Huawei’s Transport Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and 2.4Tbps wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) system. The single-channel 2.4Tbps field trial took place on MTN’s national fibre backbone network in South Africa. In the first scenario, 2.4Tbps with 16QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) was achieved over a transmission distance exceeding 300km. In the second scenario, 2Tbps with QPSK was achieved over a transmission distance of 1,031km.

FirstLight Fiber, a facilities-based telecoms service provider operating fibre-optic networks in Upstate New York and Northern New England, with additional connectivity to Canada, has announced that it has signed a definitive Asset Purchase Agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of New Hampshire-based G4 Communications, including G4’s customer base and data centre located in Manchester, New Hampshire. The transaction is expected to close following customary regulatory approval.

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