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

9 Oct 2015

Nigeria’s link to the SAT-3 submarine fibre-optic cable system – which was operated by Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) – is scheduled to go live this month, following the instigation of repair works by NITEL’s new owner NATCOM, domestic newspaper Leadership reports. The 14,350km SAT-3/WASC cable – which stretches from Sesimbra (Portugal) to Melkbosstrand (South Africa) – was built by a consortium of 32 operators, including telecoms giants AT&T, Verizon, Orange Group, Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom, and entered commercial services in April 2002. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, the submarine cable link to Nigeria was cut in June 2013 during a land reclamation project, with NITEL said to have lost around USD6 million in revenues during the period in which the infrastructure was inactive. NATCOM’s managing director Kamar Abass was cited as saying: ‘We will be fully in operation in a matter of weeks. In October … another international submarine connection will be available and it will have additional capacity with additional redundancy.’ TeleGeography notes that six international submarine cables currently land on Nigerian shores, namely SAT-3/WASC, Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), Main One, GLO-1 and the newly build Nigeria Cameroon Submarine Cable System (NCSCS), which entered services last month.

Sunnyvale, California-based Infinera says it has introduced a new unified intelligent transport network product portfolio designed to address the surge in demand forecast for metro 100Gbps packet-optical networking solutions in 2016. The company says that with mobile, video and cloud-based services driving ‘a transformation of metro packet-optical networks from 10Gbps to 100Gbps, and with industry analysts forecasting a surge in demand for metro 100Gbps in 2016, the new portfolio will bring together Infinera’s long-haul DTN-X platforms with metro packet-optical solutions obtained through the acquisition of Transmode and introduces three new platforms to the DTN-X Family. As such, the vendor says it will be able to address the entire wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) market from long-haul to metro access.

A fault has been reported on the 39,000km SeaMeWe-3 submarine cable linking Australia with Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe, Fairfax Media writes. A Telstra press release disclosed: ‘We are experiencing issues with an undersea cable connecting Australia with Singapore. As a result, some customers are experiencing slow service when using mobile devices to download or update apps, or stream music from some providers.’ The company added that arrangements have been made to re-route traffic away from the affected subsea cable. The cable cut was also confirmed by Vocus Communications general manager of engineering, Rick Carter; the executive said that segment S3.3 of the SeaMeWe-3 cable was damaged on 24 September, though he added that the fault (located 1,143km from Tuas cable landing station in Singapore) should be repaired by 15 October, pending permit approval by Indonesia and suitable weather conditions.

Alcatel-Lucent has dropped its plans to divest its wholly owned submarine cable unit Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN), with the decision to retain the business said to have no impact on Alcatel-Lucent’s ongoing merger with Nokia. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Alca-Lu first revealed its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) of the business in July 2014, saying at the time that it aimed to keep a majority stake in the division to help it develop in the oil and gas services market. This week, however, Bloomberg cited Alca-Lu’s spokeswoman Valerie La Gamba as saying: ‘We’re not satisfied with the options we have been given’, going on to add that Aca-Lu’s updated objective is to provide the unit with the means and capital structure to grow and diversify.

Zayo Group Holdings’ data centre and colocation business zColo and Netflix have partnered on the launch of Community IX Holdings’ (CIX’s) newest community-based peering exchange in Atlanta, Georgia (CIX-ATL). zColo will provide space, power and the critical underlying network connectivity, while Netflix will provide the switching equipment and associated technology required to run the exchange. CIX is a member-driven peering platform currently serving the southeastern US and Latin American markets in the zColo data centre in Miami.

Elsewhere, UK-based ServerChoice has selected Zayo Group to deploy a dark fibre route to its Welwyn data centre in Hertfordshire (UK). The project, which is scheduled to be completed in January 2016, will allow ServerChoice to provide a highly-secure flexible network solution to its customers. ‘By bringing dark fibre into the facility, ServerChoice can easily provision additional capacity for customers in its Hertfordshire data centre. This, along with Zayo’s open access suite of products, means ServerChoice’s Welwyn data centre has the opportunity to become a carrier-neutral colocation site’, a joint press release said.

Cable network operator Gulf Bridge International (GBI) has established a new partnership with the London Internet Exchange (LINX). GBI CCO Amr Eid said: ‘This agreement complements GBI’s strategic direction and network transformation from capacity-based to enterprise, value added services (VAS) and cloud services provider.’

Kenya’s ICT ministry has announced that 50% of the National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) programme has been completed, with plans to finalise the deployment by end of 2015, the Star reports. The KES6 billion (USD57.7 million) NOFBI network – which is currently being deployed by Chinese equipment vendor Huawei – is ultimately expected to extend 2,100km and link all 47 of Kenya’s county headquarters.

The Polish government has contracted Alcatel-Lucent to deploy IP and optical equipment as part of its National Broadband Plan and Eastern Poland Broadband Network initiative. The new infrastructure will provide improved internet access for up to eight million people in five underserved regions in the east of the country. Alcatel-Lucent will deploy its IP/MPLS and DWDM 100G agile optical networking technology, including the 7750 Service Router family and 1830 Photonic Service Switch, to develop regional core and distribution networks.

Ghana will become the second African country involved in *Google*’s fibre-optic initiative, dubbed Project Link. The move will see more than 1,200km of fibre cable deployed across the cities of Accra, Tema and Kumasi, connecting local ISPs and mobile service providers, and delivering capacity to help ‘fill the gap in local infrastructure’. The network is already under construction, with Google expecting to start offering the service in early 2016. Last year the Ugandan city of Kampala was the first in Africa to connect with the Google-backed project, via a 700km fibre link allowing broadband operators to provide local businesses with an improved and cheaper internet service.

In a bid to bring internet connectivity to large parts of sub-Saharan Africa, Facebook Inc is planning to launch a satellite in partnership with France’s Eutelsat Communications. The AMOS-6 satellite, which will cover 14 countries in western, eastern and southern Africa, is currently being built by Spacecom and will be launched in 2016.

Asia-Pacific fibre infrastructure company Superloop Limited is now able to offer customers in Singapore with a full-service offer, after switching on its commercial network on 2 October. The company claims to be able to offer access to diverse paths between major data centre and submarine cable landing station locations, including Global Switch, Equinix SG1, Equinix SG2 and Digital Realty (Jurong). The company is also in the final stages of connecting the Tuas and Katong Cable Landing Stations, and Equinix SG3. Superloop says its Singapore network build-out is currently underway and expected to be its largest in the region yet. During the three months ending 30 September 2015 Superloop completed the construction of the initial 110km fibre-optic network in Singapore, with 624 core fibre-optic cable hauled through the company’s duct network. As at 30 September, it has installed a total of 117km. In addition, the infrastructure provider has confirmed that its Sydney network is now in an operational phase of its rollout, with all key sites connected and services handed over to cornerstone customers, ahead of an operational launch later this month. It recently signed a contract to acquire small Brisbane-based ISP APEXN (Apex Networks) just four months after listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

And finally, Columbus, Ohio says it has taken a step towards establishing itself as an ‘edge market’ for internet traffic where content and applications can be delivered closer to end users. In a meeting hosted by network-neutral interconnection and colocation data centre company Cologix and Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet), representatives of the local internet community pledged their support for the creation of OHIO-IX as a non-profit, member-run internet exchange, transiting internet traffic without the need to traverse exchange points in cities like Chicago or Washington, DC, and then back to Columbus. The group intend to submit their proposals on OHIO-IX in the coming months, with a view to going live inside Q4 2015.

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