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

13 Nov 2015

Australian wholesale operator NextGen Networks has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Australian networks provider Vocus Communications for a 50/50 joint venture to revive a dormant submarine cable project linking Perth and Singapore. The 4,600km Australia Singapore-Cable (ASC) – which is estimated to cost USD120 million – would directly connect Perth (Australia) to Singapore via Jakarta (Indonesia), providing a 100Gbps connection from Western Australia to south-east Asia. Deployment of the infrastructure is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2016, with completion targeted within 18 months. The deal is subject to due diligence and regulatory approval and will be formalised in the coming months, NextGen said. Vocus’ announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASE) meanwhile revealed that the project will be funded by a combination of cash, debt, and customer pre-sales. TeleGeography notes that the ASC cable was initially scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in 2013, but the project was pushed back due to lack of funds, arguably as competing proposals for the same route – by SubPartners and Trident – affected investors’ confidence.

The Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) has invested in a fibre-optic cable project aiming to connect Asia and Europe via the Arctic, Alaska Dispatch News reports. Canadian telecoms firm Arctic Fibre is in charge of the undersea cable deployment, while Anchorage-based Quintillion Networks is the ‘middle-mile’ provider creating several spur lines that will connect the cable to telcos in Nome, Kotzebue, and other communities along the Bering Strait coast and the North Slope. ASRC’s equity stake only includes the Alaska portion of the project – led by Quintillion Networks – which has been estimated at USD250 million, though the percentage of ASRC’s minority interest has not been revealed. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in July 2015 Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks entered into a contract with Quintillion Subsea Holdings for the design and construction of the submarine cable system from Prudhoe Bay to Nome. Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks said it had started surveying and installation activities for the system.

Solomon Islands’ Minister of Finance and Treasury, Snyder Rini, has revealed that the government is still considering the costs and benefits of a planned new submarine cable, Solomon Star News reports. Under the proposal, an international cable landing in Honiara West will be developed, while a further two domestic cables will run from Honiara West to landing points in Noro and Auki. The company in charge of the project, the Solomon Oceanic Cable Company (SOCC), has estimated that the total cost, including civil works, supporting studies, legal costs, project management and contingencies, is expected to be in the range of USD68 million. Funding is understood to have been provided in the form of equity by SOCC’s shareholders SINPF (51% shareholder) and Our Telekom (49%), the Asian Development Bank, via support in the form of grants and sovereign debt through the Solomon Islands government, and private debt funding from the ANZ bank and the PSOD (the investment banking arm of the ADB). The finance minister has cautioned that according to a recent report less than 3% of Solomon Islanders will use the cable, and the initiative will struggle to justify the high cost.

Zayo Group Holdings has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Viatel’s infrastructure and non-Irish enterprise businesses from Dublin-based Digiweb Group for EUR95 million (USD102 million). The acquisition will provide Zayo with pan-European inter-city and metro fibre capability via an 8,400km fibre network across eight countries, which comprises twelve metro networks, seven data centres and connectivity to 81 on-net buildings. In addition, two wholly-owned subsea cable systems will provide connectivity on two of Europe’s busiest routes – London-Amsterdam and London-Paris, Zayo said. Elsewhere, euNetworks has announced that its subsidiary euNetworks Ireland Private Fiber Limited has acquired 100% of the shares of Irish networks provider Inland Fibre Telecom. The acquisition will expand euNetwork’s metro network in Dublin by 130km.

US-based network provider Windstream has introduced two diverse 500G carrier routes from Denver to Chicago and Dallas in partnership with Infinera. The new routes leverage Infinera’s DTN-X platform, the telco notes. The southern route runs from Denver to Dallas, which has multiple 100G routing options, while the northern route passes through Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska with direct connectivity eastward to Chicago. Going forward, by the end of 2015 Windstream is planning to provide services from 1Gbps to 100Gbps spanning 121,000 miles of fibre, with 100Gbps services available in 44 markets.

Cologix has revealed that Telefonica Business Solutions has deployed a Point of Presence (PoP) in Cologix’s JAX1 data centr in Jacksonville (Florida), which creates a new diverse path for internet traffic by complementing legacy paths flowing through Miami. Telefonica Business Solutions is a member of the Pacific and Caribbean Cable System (PCCS) consortium, which recently announced that its submarine cable system is now in operation, with its US node landing directly in Jacksonville.

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