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

19 Jan 2018

Alphabet Inc. (Google) and TE SubCom have announced that SubCom has been awarded the Curie Submarine Cable system contract. The system will add dedicated capacity to Google’s global network, enabling interconnection to other submarine cable infrastructure in the region. The four fibre-pair network will span over 10,000km and will link Los Angeles (US) to Valparaiso (Chile), and will include a branching unit for future connectivity to Panama. Sanjay Chowbey, president of TE SubCom, said: ‘We’re proud to provide comprehensive services to Google on this project. Leveraging existing TE SubCom infrastructure through our SubCom Global Services (SGS) options put us in position to be a true partner to them.’

Elsewhere, TE SubCom has announced that its contract to supply the HAVFRUE cable system has come into force. The new submarine cable – to be owned and operated by a consortium comprising Aqua Communications (AquaComms), Bulk Infrastructure, Facebook and others – will traverse the North Atlantic to connect mainland Northern Europe to the US. The system is comprised of a trunk cable connecting New Jersey (US) to the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark with a branch landing in County Mayo (Ireland). Optional branch extensions to Northern and Southern Norway are also included in the design. The HAVFRUE cable system will be optimised for coherent transmission and will offer a cross-sectional cable capacity of 108Tbps, scalable to higher capacities utilising future generation Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) technology. AquaComms will serve as the system operator and landing party in the US, Ireland and Denmark, while Bulk Infrastructure of Norway will be the owner and landing party for the Norwegian branch options. Route survey operations for the system have begun and the cable is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in Q4 2019.

Quantum Cable has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of a new 160Tbps submarine cable across the Mediterranean with a ‘leading US-based global industry supplier’, with the deal supported by government officials from Cyprus and Greece, the Cyprus Mail writes. The agreement follows the inking of a trilateral declaration of co-operation between Greece, Cyprus and Israel ‘to support the deployment of new cable interconnections among the three countries’ in June 2017. The Quantum Cable will connect Cyprus with Israel and Crete and Attica (Greece), and will extend further to Italy, France and Bilbao (Spain), where it will interconnect with the 6,600km MAREA submarine cable. The new cable will be laid at depths of more than 3,000 metres, in parallel with the EuroAsia Interconnector. The entire cost of the project is estimated at USD200 million, which will be undertaken by Quantum, and is expected to be in operation by October 2020.

Reliance Communications (RCOM) has revealed that it has pre-sale commitments covering roughly 50% of the USD600 million cost of the EAGLE submarine cable system, which will link Italy to Hong Kong. William Barney, co-CEO of RCOM, said: ‘The full cost of the cable will be covered by pre-sales to customers and we have already pre-sold 50%. In fact, we may end up with USD800 million in pre-sales.’ The Economic Times has named Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba as one of the partners. Based on 100G technology, the new cable network – to be owned and operated by RCOM’s subsidiary Global Cloud Xchange (GCX) – will comprise four/six fibre pair systems with initial design capacity of 12Tbps-24Tbps per fibre pair. The first section of the cable, spanning 7,750km, will connect Mumbai (India) with Hong Kong via Thailand, with branching units to a number of locations, including Singapore. The second section with a length of 8,900km will route from Mumbai via the Middle East to Italy, with landing points within the Mediterranean.

The USD350 million Hawaiki submarine cable system connecting Australia and New Zealand with the west coast of the United States has now reached the halfway point of its rollout across the Pacific Ocean. More than half of the 15,000km submarine cable system has now been laid, with TE SubCom’s cable-laying vessel, the Responder, now berthed in Auckland ahead of connecting New Zealand to the system later in January. With the cable landings in Sydney (Australia), Oahu (Hawaii) and Pacific City (Oregon, US) already completed, the cable landing in American Samoa is scheduled to be completed in March. Hawaiki Cable CEO Remi Galasso said: ‘The system includes some branching units as well for the islands – American Samoa is already in, and we expect a few more coming in the next few months. We have included in the system a branching unit for Fiji, another one for Tonga, and another one for the French territory of New Caledonia.’

Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin Singapore), a wholly-owned subsidiary of PT Telkom Group, and Super Sea Cable Networks (SEAX), have entered a strategic partnership to land the SEA Cable Exchange-1 (SEAX-1) system at Telin-2 and Telin-3 data centres in Singapore. Scheduled to launch in Q1 2018, the 250km SEAX-1 is a 24-fibre pair submarine cable that will connect Mersing (Malaysia), Changi (Singapore), and Batam (Indonesia). Joseph Lim, CEO of SEAX said: ‘SEAX is pleased to partner with Telin Singapore in providing our customers with high-capacity submarine cable connectivity to implement its plan to be one of the leaders in ASEAN to establish an ASEAN broadband corridor. This is in line with the ASEAN’s ICT focus, which is expected to be an engine of growth for the region. The partnership with Telin Singapore, a member of Telkom Indonesia Group, is a step closer to realising this.’

Swedish infrastructure specialist Flexenclosure has been commissioned by the Fijian government for the construction of an eCentre cable landing station in Savusavu on Vanua Levu in northern Fiji. The eCentre will host the Tui-Samoa undersea cable. The 8Tbps Tui-Samoa network – which was completed earlier this month – will connect Samoa to Wallis and Futuna, Vanua Levu (the second largest island of Fiji) and Suva on the Fiji mainland when it enters operations in February 2018.

Vocus has announced the inking of a USD2.2 million deal with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to scope out the design, construction, and procurement of a submarine cable between Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, ZDNet has reported. Under the three-month agreement, Vocus will conduct a desktop survey, tender the cable system project and secure all required permits. This is then expected to lead to the rollout of the cable system on behalf of the Australian government from 2018.

Nepal Telecom and Hong Kong-headquartered China Telecom Global have interconnected across Nepal’s northern border with Tibet via a mix of underground and all-dielectric self-supporting (ADSS) fibre-optic cabling. Nepal Telecom and China Telecom Global launched their services after deploying optical fibre cables between Kerung in China and Rasuwagadi in Nepal, about 50km north of Kathmandu. Pratibha Vaidya, a Nepal Telecom spokeswoman, told Reuters: ‘This will give us an alternative to India for cyber connectivity and ensure uninterrupted connections. Consumers can now look forward to a reliable service.’

Kazakhtelecom is planning to launch 100G Europe-Asia transit services with China Mobile International (CMI), China Unicom and China Telecom. Going forward, the operator is also aiming to sign a MoU with CMI for cross border interconnection upgrade, with an estimated delivery time of Q3 2018.

Canadian cable operator Cogeco has acquired sections of FiberLight’s dark fibre network in Florida via its US-based subsidiary Atlantic Broadband. Cogeco said that Atlantic Broadband acquired several dark fibres throughout South Florida for USD16.8 million. In addition, Atlantic Broadband signed an Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) to acquire FiberLight’s fibre network and corresponding assets located on the east coast of south Florida for USD34 million; the APA is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing adjustments.

Lastly, North-eastern US fibre provider FirstLight has completed the integration of Finger Lakes Technologies Group (FLTG), with the operator now adopting the FirstLight banner. Kurt Van Wagenen, President and CEO of FirstLight, said: ‘The integration of FLTG is an important development and sets the stage for FirstLight’s continued growth in 2018. Now as one team and one company, we are well positioned to continue serving the fibre-based infrastructure needs of carriers and enterprise businesses throughout our growing footprint in the Northeast.’ FirstLight now operates approximately 14,000 route miles of high-capacity fibre-optic network connecting nearly 8,000 locations and twelve data centres across the North-east.

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