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

16 Jun 2017

DOCOMO Pacific has announced that construction and testing of the 279km ATISA fibre-optic submarine cable system connecting the unincorporated US territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) – specifically the islands of Saipan, Rota and Tinian – is complete, and the system is ready for service (RFS). The ATISA cable comprises six fibre pairs, with initial capacity of 200Gbps for total design capacity of 7.2Tbps using current technology. The system was built by Japan’s NEC Corp, while Ciena provided its GeoMesh solution to deliver 100Gbps wavelengths. DOCOMO Pacific invested over USD16 million in the construction of the cable and the backup microwave system, with USD9 million earmarked within the next two years for upgrades to the fixed and mobile network on the three islands. DOCOMO Pacific also reported that it is already supplying its first enterprise partner, the Commonwealth Port Authority (which operates the Francisco C. Ada Saipan International Airport), with a new internet connection.

Seaborn Networks has revealed that it has completed the Brazil landing of Seabras-1, thus finalising the marine installation of the 10,800km system stretching between New Jersey (US) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The fibre-optic network – which has design capacity of 72Tbps and boasts 125 repeaters – will comprise five branching units to Miami (US), US Virgin Islands, Las Toninas (Argentina), Cape Town (South Africa) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The system is scheduled to be RFS in June 2017. An additional connection to Argentina – via the ARBR system – is currently under development, following the inking of an agreement between Seaborn and Grupo Werthein de Argentina in April 2017. The ARBR branch will comprise four fibre pairs with an initial maximum design capacity of 48Tbps; the cable is expected to be RFS in the second half of 2018, with the Argentinean landing station expected to be in or near Las Toninas.

Subscribers to network operator MTN Congo are experiencing disruptions to their internet services, following a fault at the WACS system. According to MTN, the disruption – which was caused by a fishing vessel 12km from Pointe Noire – could take up to several weeks to fix. Elsewhere in the region, the fibre-optic link between Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Brazzaville (Republic of Congo) across the Congo River has been completed, mediacongo.net reports. Patrick Umba, the General Manager of the Congolese Post and Telecommunications Corporation (SCPT) pointed out that the 2.4km long cable will allow mutual redundancy on both sides of the river. The new fibre-optic link with Brazzaville is part of DRC’s project to interconnect with its neighboring countries. According to unnamed sources, the SCPT has begun negotiations with*Zamtel* (Zambia) and Angola Telecom (Angola) regarding the interconnection of their respective networks.

Guinea’s telecoms watchdog the Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications (Autorite de Regulation de Postes et Telecommunication, ARPT) has revealed that the country’s fibre-optic National Backbone network was extended to 85,880km in 2016 (up from 57,436km in 2015). Orange has deployed the bulk of the network, or 50,938km, with MTN and VDC Telecom rolling out 28,800km and 5,500km of fibre, respectively; ETI and Mouna Group deployed the remainder. In addition, work on the Gambia River Basin Development Organization (OMVG) Interconnection Project – which is aiming to build 1,677km of electricity transmission network in Gambia (183km), Guinea (575km), Guinea-Bissau (218km) and Senegal (701km) – is due to start soon. This electricity transmission network will also contain fibre-optic cables (24 fibre pairs) in one of the ground wires (OPGW), with excess fibre capacity to be offered to telecoms operators.

Burkina Faso’s Ministere du Developpement de l’Economie Numerique et des Postes (MDENP) has commenced the construction of a 1,070km fibre-optic project, which will see the deployment of metropolitan networks in thirteen regional capitals and a number of new long-haul fibre optic routes. The rollout is part of the country’s National Fibre Optic Backbone project. According to the l’Agence Nationale de Promotion des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (ANPTIC), 420km of fibre-optic cables will be deployed in 13 regional capitals: Dedougou, Banfora, Ouagadougou (the capital), Tenkodogo, Kaya, Koudougou, Manga, N’gourma, Bobo Dioulasso, Ouahigouya, Ziniare, Dori and Gaoua. In addition, ANPTIC is also deploying a further 650km of inter-urban fibre-optic network, connecting the main towns and cities of Ouagadougou, Yako, Ouahigouya, Tougan, Dedougou, Ouarkoye, Bobo Dioulasso, Bagre and Bawku.

Djibouti Telecom has interconnected its IP network with Hurricane Electric at two global PoPs located in Singapore (at the Equinix and Global Switch facilities), which have a direct path to Djibouti Telecom’s data centre. With the new IP Transit agreement, networks and ISPs will have the opportunity to access Hurricane Electric’s robust global network, which is connected to over 155 major exchange points, and exchanges traffic directly with more than 6,000 different networks. As a result, both new and existing customers will be able to experience increased throughput, reduced latency and improved reliability.

Salomon Padilla, president of independent telecommunications providers association La Asociacion de Telecomunicaciones Independientes (ATIM), has revealed that a total of 72 Mexican cable companies have expressed interest in rolling out around 3,000km of fibre-optic cables as part of the country’s backbone network, local daily newspaper Reforma writes. The 25,000km fibre-optic backbone is being tendered by state-owned operator Telecomm, which will offer wholesale broadband and telephony services as soon as it receives the green light from the country’s telecoms regulator the Federal Telecommunications Institute (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones, Ifetel).

State-run Compania Anonima Nacional de Telefonos de Venezuela (CANTV) has revealed that it has extended its backbone network to the Amazonas State by deploying a 2.4km fibre-optic link across the Orinoco river, from Puerto Paez to El Burro. The company disclosed that the National Transport Network fibre backbone now interconnects all 24 regional capitals of the country via 22,000km of fibre. The extension of the backbone network to the Amazonas State was funded by the state via the Opsut project, under which 6,096km of fibre is to be deployed in underserved areas (with 5,500km of cabling already laid).

Lastly, New York-based provider of managed services Perseus – a Goldman Sachs Group-backed firm which has presence at over 100 data centres and offers proximity hosting in over 300 exchanges and trading venues – has been acquired by GTT Communications for USD39.5 million. Perseus CEO Jock Percy said: ‘This morning we completed the sale of our company to GTT Communications. GTT is the leading cloud networking provider to the world and a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange … We are excited about the synergy between Perseus and GTT, and the tremendous advantage this brings to our clients.’

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