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

3 Mar 2017

US-based Seaborn Networks has revealed that it has completed the first beach landing (at Wall, New Jersey) for its trans-oceanic fibre-optic cable Seabras-1, which is aiming to connect New York City (US) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). According to the company’s press release, the 11,000km system – which has design capacity of 72Tbps and will require 125 repeaters – will boast five branching units to Miami (US), US Virgin Islands, Las Toninas (Argentina), Cape Town (South Africa) and Rio (Brazil). The system is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in June 2017. The Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN)-owned installation vessel Ile de Sein, meanwhile, is expected to arrive at Sao Paulo over the next weeks.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved DOCOMO Pacific’s application for a landing licence for its ATISA submarine fibre-optic cable system, which is scheduled for launch in June this year. The 280km cable will connect the unincorporated US territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) – specifically the islands of Saipan, Rota and Tinian. The ATISA cable will comprise six fibre pairs, with initial capacity of 100Gbps on the Guam-Saipan route (over three express fibre pairs) and 10Gbps on the other routes (Guam-Rota, Guam-Tinian, Rota-Tinian, Rota-Saipan and Tinian-Saipan) for total design capacity of 4.8Tbps using current technology. DOCOMO’s USD26 million investment in the project will comprise USD16 million for the construction of the cable and the backup microwave system and USD10 million within the next two years for upgrades to the fixed and mobile network on the three islands. The vessel laying the ATISA cable system will make its way to Guam in the next few weeks, DOCOMO Pacific said, adding that construction works on the cable landing stations in Rota and Tinian (in partnership with cable landing station specialist XSite Modular) are ongoing. TeleGeography notes that the sole submarine link between the two locations – the Mariana-Guam Cable – is operated by IT&E; the link was out of service for nearly a month in July 2015 due to a cut caused by a series of typhoons in the area.

Angola Cables has selected Ciena’s GeoMesh and Blue Planet solutions to support its new service launch on the Monet subsea cable. The 10,556km system is currently designed to deliver over 60Tbps of capacity between the Brazilian cities of Santos and Fortaleza and Boca Raton, US. Construction of the six-fibre-pair system is currently underway, and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2017.

The Samoa Submarine Cable Company has selected telecoms infrastructure specialist Flexenclosure to provide it with two eCentre data centre solutions, to be deployed at the cable landing stations in Vavaisse and Tuasivi, which will host the 1,470km Tui-Samoa. The 8Tbps network will connect Samoa, the territories of Wallis and Futuna and Vanua Levu to Suva on the Fiji mainland. Operational deployment and full commissioning of both eCentres is planned for June of this year.

ASN Marine (on behalf of Alcatel Submarine Networks) has been contracted to undertake an emergency repair of the GTT Express (previously known as Hibernia Express) submarine fibre-optic cable, which links the UK with Ireland and Canada. The Ile d’Aix vessel is scheduled to take seven days to repair the fault, which occurred in Section C (between the landing stations in Cork, Ireland and Brean, the UK). TeleGeography notes that GTT Communications finalised its acquisition of global telecoms solutions provider Hibernia Networks in January 2017. Under the deal, GTT took over five Hibernia-owned subsea cables – including the transatlantic Hibernia Express system, which has a design capacity of 53Tbps and comprises six fibre pairs.

Vogel Telecom, the telecoms service provider of Patria Investimentos, is planning to expand the capacity of its fibre-optic backbone network in the state of Minas Gerais by installing DWDM equipment provided by Padtec, Brazilian news source Telesintese writes. Currently, the company operates 560km of optical cables in the region, with terminations in the capital Belo Horizonte and in the municipalities of Sete Lagoas, Curvelo, Bocaiuva and Montes Claros. Vogel Telecom was established in April 2015, by the merger of five regional fibre-optic operators – Avvio Telecom, Smart Brasil, SouthTech Telecom and Rede Otica Bahia – acquired by Patria Investimentos in 2014-15, with the most recent acquisition (of mining company Telbrax) finalised in 2016. Vogel’s CEO Ricardo Madureira said his company – which operates more than 20,000km of fibre-optics in 13 states – is planning to deploy 3,000km of fibre-optics across the country in 2017.

Lastly, Facebook is planning to lay nearly 500 miles of fibre-optic cable in Uganda by the end of 2017, thus aiming to provide internet access to more than three million people, Recode writes. Facebook is partnering with Airtel and Bandwidth and Cloud Services (BCS) to offer the internet service, though it also disclosed that it is open to working with other network providers, down the line.

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