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

26 Jun 2015

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a grant of USD16 million for the Samoa Connectivity Project, with the scheme expected to bring reliable and affordable internet connectivity to the Pacific nation. Under the project, Samoa will be connected to the Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) via a 1,300km cable, linking the country’s largest islands, Upolu and Savai’i to Suva (Fiji). Work on the new cable is scheduled to start in 2016. Samoa’s cable follows on from the 827km Tonga Cable fibre-optic cable between Tonga and Fiji which was completed in August 2013. The programme will be carried out as a private-public partnership (PPP); the USD49.94 million needed for the construction will be provided by the Asian Development Bank (USD18.5 million), the Samoa government via the newly established Samoa Submarine Cable Company (USD5.76 million) and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (USD1.5 million). TeleGeography notes that Samoa is currently connected to one submarine cable – the American Samoa-Hawaii (ASH) cable system – although it chiefly relies on expensive satellite connectivity.

Tanzania’s government is planning to invest USD93.7 million in the construction of the third phase of the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB), according to the country’s Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Makame Mbarawa. The NICTBB programme is being implemented in five phases; the first two stages of the fibre-optic backbone project have been completed with a total of 7,560km of fibre already in operation. The backbone network currently covers 24 regions of Tanzania’s mainland, and has connectivity to three submarine cables – Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy), SEACOM and Seychelles to East Africa System (SEAS) – and also cross-border connectivity to the neighbouring countries of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Burundi and Zambia. The Tanzanian backhaul network will span 20,000km when completed, according to Mr Mbarawa. In addition, the government has earmarked a further USD875,000 for the construction of a data centre and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network, which would direct data from one network node to the next, based on short path labels.

Guyana’s government is looking to connect the country to a second submarine cable by 2018, with plans to tap into the proposed eulaLink submarine cable, which will link Lisbon (Portugal) with Fortaleza (Brazil), local sources have reported. The country’s bid to join the eulaLink project consortium, which must be submitted by the end of 2015, will be debated in parliament in September. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, the eulaLink project, which is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) by 2017, is being built by a consortium led by Brazilian state-owned telecoms infrastructure provider Telebras and Spanish cable operator IslaLink. The European Commission (EC) will invest around EUR25 million in the new fibre-optic infrastructure via the Building Europe Link to Latin America (BELLA) project, which was put forward by European research network DANTE and its Latin American counterpart RedCLARA. TeleGeography notes that Guyana’s sole submarine connection to date is the Suriname-Guyana Submarine Cable System (SG-SCS), which is co-owned by Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) and Telesur of Suriname.

US-based Zayo Group Holdings has upgraded its Ethernet backbone to 100G, thus enabling it to offer Ethernet services up to 40G (intercity and transatlantic) and 100G (metro areas) on a native 100G port in point-to-point or multipoint configurations. The upgrade also includes the installation of 100G-capable points of presence (PoPs) in twelve key markets throughout the US and Europe, including Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle, New York, Washington DC, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London and Paris.

Optical networking solutions provider Xtera Communications has deployed its next generation repeater into the High capacity, Undersea Guernsey Optical-fibre (HUGO) submarine system, which connects Porthcurno (UK), Guernsey (UK) and Lannion (France). Xtera claims that the project represents ‘the industry’s first deployment of a Raman-based submarine repeater’. The insertion extends the lifetime and capacity of the HUGO subsea cable, which is a re-deployment of parts of the decommissioned Gemini system.

Deutsche Telekom-backed T-Mobile Czech Republic has selected MRV Communications, a US-based provider of packet and optical solutions, to supply it with its MRV’s OptiDriver optical transport platform and Pro-Vision service orchestration platform, to deliver 100G high-capacity bandwidth for interconnect services to corporate users, data centres and branch locations in the capital Prague. The vendor says it is ‘empowering’ T-Mobile to construct a ‘more intelligent, fully redundant optical transport network for remote branch connectivity via a 100G transport service within the Prague city municipality’. The MRV OptiDriver optical transport platform offers high-density 10G optical transport in addition to supporting intelligent reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM) networks and services at any rates, from low speed to high speed 100G. Elsewhere, Czech Republic’s infrastructure provider CESNET has completed a trial of 400Gbps optical transmission over its fibre-optic network infrastructure, using Alcatel-Lucent’s 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) and the 400G Photonic Service Engine (PSE). The CESNET NREN network connects all of the Czech Republic’s major cities to serve organisations involved in research and development, science, education, and healthcare.

Due to a fault on Cameroon Telecommunications’ (CamTel’s) transmission network reported on 21 June 2015, three regions in Northern Cameroon and parts of Chad have no access to telecoms services, CamerPost reports. The fracture was due to ‘partial rupture of fibre-optic cable’ located ‘in the grip of the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline between the regions of the East and Adamawa, 45km from the town of Kongolo.’ CamTel said that its teams of technicians are working to repair the network.

Submarine cable operator Seacom has entered into a peering agreement with DE-CIX’s neutral internet exchange (IX) in Frankfurt (Germany). ‘Our peering arrangement at DE-CIX means that African carriers and service providers will be able to efficiently and securely exchange Internet traffic with many major providers in central and Western Europe’, Seacom engineering head Mark Tinka disclosed.

Angola Cables has connected the first members to its neutral internet traffic exchange platform in Luanda, the Angonix, which was launched in March 2015. Darwin Costa, Angonix project manager, disclosed: ‘Angonix will guarantee non-commercial DNS services and more than 300 TLDs (Top Level Domains). The main goal is to guarantee that every member connected into the platform, will be able to benefit from lower latency and will be able to instantly access the content they are looking for.’

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