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

13 Apr 2017

Ocean Networks and Ocean Specialists (OSI) have announced that they have entered into an agreement for the further development and implementation of the planned South America Pacific Link (SAPL) submarine cable network. The SAPL is being developed in two phases, with phase one connecting Valparaiso (Chile), Manta (Ecuador), Balboa (Panama) and Jacksonville (Florida), and phase two extending the network to Hawaii, where it will interconnect with Asia and Pacific networks, creating a much-needed direct connection between those key traffic points and the west coasts of Central and South America. Ocean Networks notes that it has received interest in the project from investors, carriers, governments, content providers and suppliers who recognise the benefits of a next-generation network connection between these emerging markets. OSI will provide full turnkey network development services to Ocean Networks, beginning from the current financing stage and continuing through implementation to network operations. Phase one of the cable is expected to be ready for service (RFS) by early 2019.

The Samoa Submarine Cable Company Limited and Alcatel Submarine Networks have begun a marine route survey for the 1,470km Tui-Samoa Cable, Radio New Zealand reports. The 8Tbps network will connect Samoa to Wallis and Futuna, Vanua Levu (the second largest island of Fiji) to Suva on the Fiji mainland. The marine route survey is due to be completed next month.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed that it has granted a submarine cable landing licence to Quintillion Subsea Operations, for the purpose of constructing, landing and operating a private fibre-optic submarine cable network, the 1,176km Quintillion System, which will extend between Nome, Alaska and Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The Quintillion System is comprised of three fibre pairs and six cable landing station sites. The cable will be deployed as a trunk and branch configuration and consist of eleven segments, with each segment designed to initially carry up to 100 wavelengths at 100Gbps. Quintillion Subsea Holdings is 89.5% owned, on a direct basis, by Cooper Investment Fund.

In other FCC-related developments, the US watchdog has confirmed that it has approved the transfer of a cable landing licence for the Gemini-Bermuda Cable, which links New Jersey with Bermuda, from Cable & Wireless Network Services Limited (CWNS) to CWC New Cayman. CWC New Cayman, a newly incorporated Cayman Island entity, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CWC New Cayman Holdco. Further, the FCC has also approved the transfer of the cable landing licence for the Pacific Caribbean Cable System (PCCS) from Cable & Wireless EWC to New Cayman CWC. As a result of the transaction, New Cayman now holds the following interests in the PCCS Cable System: an 18.0% ownership interest in the PCCS Cable system; ownership and operational responsibility for the cable landing station in Tortola, British Virgin Islands; 100% ownership interest in the portion of the PCCS Cable System in British Virgin Islands waters; and ownership and operational responsibility for the cable landing stations in Maria Chiquita and Balboa (both Panama).

Submarine cable operator SEACOM is experiencing outage on Segment 15 of the SEACOM/Tata TGN-Eurasia cable system. The marine fault, which occurred on 8 April, is located slightly west of Djibouti, in the Red Sea. The company said: ‘The impact of the incident is that all linear transmission traffic on the east coast of Africa to and from Europe will be affected. Customers with IP or other managed network services will remain unaffected but could experience higher latencies with possible degradation of service, as traffic will predominantly be routed over SEACOM’s West Africa Cable System (WACS) transmission links on the west coast of Africa, as well as on SEACOM’s network to Asia gateways.’ SEACOM said its repair vessel is being mobilised, with a tentative repair date to be confirmed ‘soon’.

Spain’s National Commission for Markets and Competition (Comision Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, CNMC) has ordered Telefonica Espana to reduce its wholesale prices by up to 36%. The reduction in wholesale prices will reduce tariffs for the use of submarine cables linking the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands with one another, as well as Ceuta (an autonomous city located on the north coast of Africa, sharing its land border with Morocco), and the Iberian Peninsula. The eight submarine cable routes affected by the reduced fees – the CNMC has proposed an average reduction of 35.6% – are Cadiz-Ceuta, Gran Canaria-Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria-Lanzarote, Tenerife-La Palma, Tenerife-Gomera, Hierro-Gomera, Mallorca-Menorca and Ibiza-Formentera.

Remgro, the parent company of South African wholesale provider Dark Fibre Africa (DFA), is reportedly in negotiations to sell the unit to Internet Solutions (IS), TechCentral writes, citing people familiar with the matter. Remgro, which owns 51.9% of the business, and investment partner New GX Capital, are seeking as much as ZAR10 billion (USD720 million) for the asset.

Uniti Group has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Southern Light for aggregate consideration of approximately USD700 million in cash and equity, subject to adjustment in accordance with the acquisition agreement. The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2017 and is subject to customary closing conditions. The acquisition will transform Uniti Fiber into a more competitive provider of fibre infrastructure solutions. Southern Light is a leading provider of data transport services along the Gulf Coast region serving twelve attractive Tier II and Tier III markets across Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi. Southern Light’s dense regional fibre network comprises nearly 540,000 fibre strand miles, 5,700 fibre route miles, and over 4,500 on-net locations. Southern Light and Hunt will double Uniti Fiber’s operational network to encompass over one million fibre strand miles, and increase Uniti’s aggregate strand miles to over 4.8 million.

Elsewhere in the US infrastructure sector, Fierce Telecom has reported that FirstLight Fiber is in the process of rebranding its recently acquired Oxford Communications and ION Communications businesses under the FirstLight name. Besides Oxford and ION, FirstLight is also in the process of acquiring Finger Lakes Technologies Group (FLTG), a subsidiary of Trumansburg Telephone Company, a purchase that will deepen its fibre network reach for business customers in New York.

Nokia has won Chogoku area’s first 100Gbps network rollout for Energia Communications (EneCom), which is the leading utility telecommunications company in the area. By deploying a cutting-edge optical transport system integrated with 100G/200G coherent technology, Nokia will transform EneCom’s transport network to provide highly flexible and reliable services. The network will be deployed in the Chugoku area on Japan’s main island, Honshu, covering the main cities of Okayama and Hiroshima.

Finally, Coriant says it has supplied its Coriant Groove G30 Network Disaggregation Platform to BICS for use in the global wholesale carrier’s pan-European fibre-optic network. BICS will use the optical transport systems in such European metro network markets as London, Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Marseille. BICS has chosen the Groove G30 to support metro-based high-capacity, low-latency point-to-point services. The offerings include 10G, coherent 100G, and OTU4 services. The wholesaler began initial deployments in Marseille last month, where the systems have started carrying live traffic. Additional deployments are planned for Brussels, Frankfurt, London, and other major European metropolitan markets in the coming months.

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