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

27 Oct 2017

Mauritius-based IOX Cable Ltd and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) have commenced work on the cable route survey for the 8,850km IOX Cable System aiming to link South Africa with India, via landings in Mauritius, the autonomous outer island of Rodrigues and the French overseas territory of Reunion. IOX Cable’s CEO Arunachalam Kandasamy said: ‘We at IOX are pleased to announce the commencement of work on the IOX Cable System. The contract is in force and the system is targeted to be completed in 2019. This is a significant achievement in making the Indian Ocean islands a key gateway between Asia and Africa with onward connectivity to Europe, Middle East and the Americas.’ The system will deliver an ultimate design capacity of over 54Tbps.

A project is underway to build a submarine fibre-optic network linking the Russian mainland to the enclave of Kaliningrad, which is situated between Poland and Lithuania, CNews writes. The network – estimated to cost RUB2 billion (USD34.6 million) – will be deployed by Rostelecom across the Baltic Sea to the mainland, with a potential landing point in the Leningrad region. Under the draft plan, the federal government would allocate RUB1 billion annually in 2018 and 2019 for the rollout. Rostelecom was cited as saying: ‘It is obvious that an underwater fibre-optic link to the Kaliningrad region is necessary, as the traffic to this region goes through the territory of neighbouring countries. For our part, we note that we have experience in implementing state projects, including underwater fibre-optic communication lines.’

Submarine vendor ASN has completed the physical installation of the Alaska portion of the Quintillion System, with the network scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in December. The 1,176km submarine cable – comprising three fibre pairs and six cable landing station sites – will extend between Nome, Alaska and Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, with branching lines to Utqiagvik, Wainwright, Point Hope and Kotzebue. The system 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 the Cooper Investment Fund.

Tele-Post Greenland has announced the completion of a 12.4Tbps upgrade to the Greenland Connect cable system with three new 100Gbps connections to Verne Global’s Icelandic data centre. The 4,600km Greenland Connect links the country to Iceland and Canada.

Telecom Italia’s international wholesale unit Sparkle and Maltese telecoms operator GO have upgraded the Italy-Malta submarine cable linking Malta to mainland Europe via Sicily by introducing 100G transmission technology, which will enhance the performance of GO’s IP platform. The project is part of GO’s recently announced plans to invest EUR100 million (USD118 million) in its infrastructure over the next five years – the firm is also currently upgrading the GO-1 Mediterranean Cable System and is also looking at a possible new connection to an existing submarine cable which links Marseille in France to Tunis in Tunisia.

Irish submarine operator AquaComms has announced that PacketFabric has selected the AEConnect submarine cable system – which links New York and London via Dublin – to provide transatlantic capacity and extend the reach of its SDN platform into Europe. PacketFabric’s CEO William Charnock said: ‘Leveraging AEConnect to establish end-to-end high-capacity transatlantic connectivity extends the reach of our network to provide more customers with scalable, reliable and secure access to network and cloud environments in the US as well as internationally. AEConnect’s state-of-the-art technology allows PacketFabric to further future-proof our terabit-scale networking infrastructure as well as obtain additional route diversity for network reliability. The subsea cable system is a key part of our global connectivity strategy.’

Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) has selected Ciena’s Converged Packet Optical Platform as the foundation for the Batelco Gulf Network (BGN). The BGN terrestrial fibre-optic cable system will span 1,400km and will run over the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority’s (GCCIA’s) electricity power grid, offering high bandwidth and capacity connectivity to all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, with Batelco given full responsibility for managing the network. The cable can be interconnected with other regional submarine cables giving access to onward connectivity to Europe and Asia and major regional landing stations. Keri Gilder, Ciena Vice President and General Manager EMEA, said: ‘Ciena is delighted to partner with Batelco on the Batelco Gulf Network, which will enhance communications and deliver world class networking services for customers, and position Bahrain as a regional leader and innovator in telecoms services.’

Philippines operator PLDT has announced the completion of its PHP1 billion (USD19 million) expansion project in Mindanao. The operator successfully installed 300km of fibre infrastructure covering the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao del Norte, and Davao del Sur. The latest expansion adds to the existing Domestic Fibre-Optic Network (DFON) in Mindanao, which spans from Cagayan de Oro to Malaybalay, Davao, Tagum, Bayugan, and Butuan. Further, PLDT highlighted that the PHP1 billion expansion augments capacity on the DFON, boosting local loop capacity by 100Gbps to 400Gbps.

Zayo Group Holdings will offer three fully diverse network routes out of Marseille, which will provide businesses and carriers with extensive connectivity options throughout Western Europe and North America via Zayo’s global network. The first low-latency route via Lyon is fully operational and is available for both dark fibre and 100G wavelengths. The second dark fibre route traverses western France via Bordeaux, while the third route connects to Strasbourg via Milan and onto Paris, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and other European markets. Zayo is deploying a coherent 100G wavelength system over the existing fibre, which is expected to be fully completed by the end of the year. The routes leverage assets acquired from Viatel in 2015.

Dartcom Fibre Solutions has launched a new fibre factory near Mamelodi (Pretoria, South Africa) that could produce 12,000km of fibre-optic cabling a year at its peak, TechCentral writes. Dartcom is a dark fibre provider active in South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi and Angola.

Telefonica of Spain has completed the transfer of a 24.8% stake in its infrastructure subsidiary Telxius to private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) for EUR790.5 million, as part of a February 2017 deal to divest 40% of the unit to the investment firm for a total of EUR1.275 billion. In a statement to markets watchdog CNMV, the company said it aims to complete the transfer of the remaining 15.2% worth EUR484.5 million by the end of this year. Under the agreement, Telefonica will remain the anchor client for Telxius’ tower and cable businesses. It will keep a majority stake and operational control of Telxius and continue to consolidate it into its accounts. Telxius operates Telefonica Group´s international network of 65,000km of submarine fibre-optic cables (31,000km of which are Telefonica-owned).

Lastly, Chinese-owned CITIC Telecom International CPC (CITIC Telecom CPC) has completed the acquisition of Amsterdam-based telecoms provider Linx Telecommunication. The deal includes Linx’s 470km submarine fibre network in the Baltic Sea (linking Sweden, Finland and Estonia), its network operations centres (NOCs) in Moscow and Tallinn (Estonia), its Tallinn data centre, which serves as Estonia’s largest Internet Exchange (TLL-IX), and extensive infrastructure/business operations serving customers in 14 countries with 24 PoPs across Western Europe, Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Stephen Ho, CEO of CITIC Telecom CPC, said: ‘We are starting a new era by expanding our coverage to more than 140 PoPs in 130 countries which covers critical locations along the Digital Silk Road.’

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