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

6 May 2016

The government of the Brazilian region of Pernambuco has expressed its willingness to support investments for the connection of the island of Fernando de Noronha to a new submarine cable, called EllaLink – which will link Lisbon (Portugal) with Fortaleza (Brazil) – and has requested a formal proposal by the cable developers to facilitate the agreement, TeleSintese reports. The EllaLink cable will stretch from Santos (Sao Paulo) to a hub in Fortaleza (Ceara) and will link the two Brazilian locations to Sines in Portugal, with additional branches to French Guiana, Cape Verde and the Canary Islands (Spain); it will pass roughly 60km from Fernando de Noronha. The 5,785km cable – which is being developed in partnership with Spain’s IslaLink – will require total investment of USD250 million and will have design capacity of 30Tbps. Brazilian state-owned telecoms infrastructure provider Telebras will have a 35% stake in the project, while IslaLink will hold 45%; the remaining 20% will be owned by a yet-to-be identified Brazilian shareholder.

TE SubCom has been awarded a contract by Georgian ISP Caucasus Online to upgrade its Caucasus Cable System linking Poti in Georgia and Balchik (Bulgaria). Utilising TE SubCom’s 100Gbps coherent transmission technology, the 1,200km Caucasus cable system upgrade – scheduled to be completed this month – is expected to support over 9Tbps, more than seven times the initial design capacity. The system was designed, manufactured and installed by TE SubCom and has been in service since November 2008.

Vietnamese IT group FPT has made a USD10 million investment in the Asia-Pacific Gateway (APG) submarine cable project, which will connect nine Asian nations (Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand) when it enters services in 2016, Nikkei Asian Review reports. According to an unnamed FPT representative, three Vietnamese groups – Viettel Telecom, FPT and CMC Telecom Infrastructure – signed a business cooperation contract to participate in the cable project; Viettel Telecom will act as a group representative. FPT is reportedly pledging the equivalent of 25% of Viettel Telecom’s contribution. TeleGeography notes that the cable will be owned and operated by a consortium of a number of companies, including NTT, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, KT Corporation, StarHub, LG Uplus, China Mobile, Viettel, Vietnam Telecom International, Global Transit, Facebook and TIME dotCom.

Middle East submarine cable solutions provider E-marine has secured a maintenance contract for the 8,100km Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG) submarine fibre-optic cable – linking Malaysia and Singapore to Oman and the UAE, with additional branches to India and Sri Lanka. The section under E-marine’s maintenance spans almost 4,000km from Oman to Sri Lanka via the UAE and India. The new fibre-optic submarine cable – which consists of three fibre pairs – uses DWDM technology and boasts a design capacity of 55Tbps, with initial equipped capacity of 9Tbps. It is owned and operated by a consortium comprising telecoms operators Dialog Axiata of Sri Lanka, Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman’s Omantel, Reliance Jio Infocomm (India), Telekom Malaysia and UK-based Vodafone.

Globe Telecom of the Philippines is close to completing a cable landing station in Davao (Philippines), which forms part of the USD250 million Southeast Asia-US (SEA-US) submarine cable system, scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) by year-end. The 15,000km SEA-US submarine cable will link Manado (Indonesia) to Los Angeles (US) via Oahu (Hawaii) and Piti (Guam), with a fibre-optic cable branch to Davao. The cable will provide an additional 20Tbps capacity, connecting Indonesia and the Philippines to the US with 100Gbps technology. The SEA-US consortium comprises of 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.

Dublin-based network solutions provider Aqua Comms has entered into an agreement with global private equity firm Cartesian Capital Group for up to USD75 million in equity capital to support global growth initiatives. The financing agreement provides USD50 million in immediate funding that Aqua Comms will use to further accelerate customer growth on its existing networks. In addition, Cartesian has committed to fund an additional USD25 million of equity capital to be used to opportunistically accelerate expansion including potential new routes. TeleGeography notes that Aqua Comms currently owns and operates two submarine cable systems – the 131km Irish Sea subsea cable CeltixConnect and the AEConnect network spanning more than 5,522km across the Atlantic.

Airtel Business, a subsidiary of Indian telecoms giant Bharti Airtel, and Gulf Bridge International (GBI) – a global service provider that owns and operates a multilayer carrier neutral network connecting the world to the Middle East – have entered into a strategic partnership which will increase Airtel’s direct reach to a number of new countries in the Middle East and will offer GBI’s partners better connectivity.

Lastly, Vietnamese mobile operator Hanoi Telecom (HTC) has selected Infinera to extend its existing Infinera TM-Series metro network with the DTN-X Family for its backbone connecting Ho Chi Minh City and Vung Tau. Infinera won the contract via its local partner, Nissho Electronics Vietnam. The Infinera DTN-X XTC Series enables HTC to deliver 500Gbps super-channels and supports a forward-scale design to provide multi-terabit super-channels in the future.

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