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

8 Dec 2017

The Monet submarine cable system connecting the cities of Santos and Fortaleza in Brazil and Miami (US) is now certified ready for service (RFS), with commercial traffic due to begin shortly. The 10,556km system – jointly owned by Uruguayan state-owned operator Antel, Brazil’s Algar Telecom, Angola Cables and Google – comprises six fibre pairs and will provide approximately 64Tbps of capacity to users. The Monet cable has been built using TE SubCom’s Open Cables concept, and features SubCom’s network operations centre (NOC) solution providing the Monet consortium with a single source for fault, configuration, alarm, performance, security and maintenance network management.

Belau Submarine Cable Corporation (BSCC) and NEC Corporation have announced that the construction of a new submarine cable linking the Republic of Palau to the SEA-US submarine cable – connecting the Philippines and Indonesia to the west coast of the US via Guam and Hawaii – has been completed, with the system now ready for commercial service. The Palau Spur interconnects with the SEA-US system from a branching unit located between the Philippines and Guam; it has an initial design capacity of 500Gbps, using NEC’s 100Gbps technology. The 15,000km SEA-US submarine cable is owned by a consortium comprising RAM Telecom International (RTI), Globe Telecom, Hawaiian Telcom, Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Teleguam Holdings (GTA), GTI Corporation (a member of the Globe Telecom group of companies) and Telkom USA. The 100G system – which bypasses congested, earthquake-prone areas – delivers 20Tbps capacity, and has a minimum of 25 years of commercial life.

Sparkle, the international service provider of TIM Group, has announced the activation of three fibre pairs it owns and manages on the new Seabras-1 cable connecting Sao Paulo (Brazil) to New York (US). The new route, fully integrated with Sparkle’s global backbone, increases the overall redundancy of Sparkle’s Americas network as it provides a third option for diversification.

Vietnam’s CMC Telecom has inaugurated its 2,500km Cross VietNam Cable System (CVCS), Vietnam News writes. The new nationwide system is routed through 19 provinces and cities in the country from the northern Lang Son Province to the southern Tay Ninh Province, including Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa, Vinh, Hue, Quy Nhon and Nha Trang. The VND500 billion (USD22 million) network has a bandwidth capacity of up to 9.6Tbps and will be interconnected to most submarine cable routes in the region, such as the Asia Pacific Gateway (APG), Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1), Unity and FASTER.

Fiji International Telecommunications (FINTEL) has committed an initial investment of AUD20 million (USD15 million) to the NEXT submarine cable aiming to connect Clovelly (Australia) with Los Angeles (US). The NEXT project will interconnect with existing Southern Cross systems, as well as 15 cable station and data centre locations currently accessible by Southern Cross Cables across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and the US. The NEXT cable is expected to provide an additional 60Tbps of capacity for customers when completed in 2019, adding to the existing 20Tbps of capacity of the current Southern Cross systems. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Hong Kong-based EGS completed the marine survey for the submarine link in August 2017.

Tejas Networks has successfully completed the deployment of a high capacity national optical backbone network in Bangladesh for the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), in partnership with Telephone Shilpa Sangstha. The terrestrial network is built using multiple 100Gbps DWDM channels and connects the undersea cable landing station at Kuakata to the capital Dhaka. It will be used for countrywide distribution of bandwidth from the SeaMeWe-5 submarine cable system linking Bangladesh to several countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.

The SeaMeWe-3 submarine cable connecting Perth in Western Australia to Europe, the Middle East and Asia was reportedly damaged on 3 December 2017. The cable fault occurred approximately 1,126km from the cable landing station in Singapore. The system was most recently cut in August 2017, when the cable insulation was damaged near Hong Kong. Currently, there are two in-deployment cable systems aiming to provide additional bandwidth capacity to Australia – Vocus is in the midst of building the 4,600km Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) linking Perth to Singapore via Jakarta in Indonesia. Vocus is expected to lay the cable in early 2018, with a RFS date of July. In addition, a regional consortium – comprising Google, SubPartners, Australian research network AARNet and telcos Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel and Telstra – is building the 9,000km Indigo subsea cable that will link Singapore with Perth, and onward connectivity to Sydney. With landing stations in Singapore, Australia and Indonesia, Indigo – to be constructed by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) – will also allow connections between Singapore and Jakarta. Elsewhere, internet connections in a number of African countries have been affected by a fault reported on the SAFE cable just off Cape Town (South Africa). The damage is expected to take ten days to repair.

Construction work on a 520km fibre-optic network to interconnect the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) with neighbouring Gabon has now been completed, with the system scheduled to enter services shortly, Agence Ecofin writes. The deployment of the optical fibre from the city of Pointe-Noire to the Gabonese border via Dolisie and Mbinda began in June 2015. The project is part of the second stage of the Central African Backbone (CAB) initiative, which aims to connect a total of eleven Central African countries when completed. Project coordinator Yvon-Didier Miehakanda said that the third phase of the project – involving the installation of fibre-optic network from Congo to Cameroon and the Central African Republic – will commence in 2018.

Zimbabwean internet users have experienced internet service disruptions, due to faults on two main cable links in South Africa and Harare (Zimbabwe). Fungai Mandiveyi, spokesperson for Econet Wireless Global (parent company of Liquid Telecom), explained that the Liquid Telecom technical fault was caused by a third party 17km from Beitbridge. TelOne’s cable, meanwhile, was cut in Kuwadzana, though the company revealed that ‘the backup link through Botswana has since been re-established and, with the link through Mozambique, we are operating at a 50% capacity. Our partners in South Africa and TelOne engineers here in Zimbabwe are working in the field to restore a full service.’

Telstra has upgraded its transmission network between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth to support 8.8Tbps, scalable to more than 100Tbps. The company said that its optical transmission network in the island state of Tasmania was also upgraded in August, with the updates allowing for further resilience, redundancy, and software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities. ‘This transformation will provide increased capacity, enhanced resiliency, and extensive scalability to cope with the ever-growing demand on Telstra’s networks,’ the company said in a press release.

Prysmian Group has agreed to acquire fellow cable maker General Cable Corp for USD30 per share. The all-cash offer equates to a total transaction value of approximately USD3 billion, including debt and certain other General Cable liabilities. The parties expect to finalise the merger by the second quarter of 2018. The addition of General Cable will enhance Prysmian’s reach into North America, Europe, and South America. Elsewhere, Hexatronic Group has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Blue Diamond Industries, a US-based supplier of conduits and ducts for the telecoms and power markets, for an enterprise value of USD24.5 million, with an additional purchase consideration of up to USD2.5 million based on performance. The acquisition is expected to be fully financed through a committed senior debt, and is expected to close in early January 2018.

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