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

27 Apr 2018

Globacom has awarded a contract for the deployment of a submarine fibre-optic cable to equipment vendor Huawei. The Glo-2 system will be built along the Nigerian coast from Alpha Beach in Lagos, where the Glo-1 landing station is located, to the Southern part of Nigeria. Globacom’s Regional Director, Technical, Mr Sanjib Roy said: ‘Glo-2 will be the first submarine cable in Nigeria to land outside Lagos as the five existing submarine cables only landed in Lagos. Glo-2 will have capacity of 12Tbps and will provide ultra-high speed connection to oil platforms and communities to empower data coverage and support Enterprise market growth in this part of Nigeria.’ The new 850km cable will be integrated into Globacom’s existing terrestrial backbone network to provide additional service redundancy. The system will comprise three fibre pairs; the first pair will connect Lagos directly to the Southern part of Nigeria with terrestrial extension to other parts of the country for redundancy and maintenance purposes. The second will be equipped with eight switchable Branching Units (BUs) which will deliver high capacity to offshore oil stations and communities connected directly to BUs, while the third pair will be equipped with two switchable BUs to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.

The USD350 million Hawaiki submarine cable system connecting Australia and New Zealand with the west coast of the United States has completed its final landing in American Samoa, with the United States territory to gain access to 200Gbps of additional capacity from the cable, ahead of the system’s launch in June 2018. Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP CEO Remi Galasso said: ‘Hawaiki’s Transpacific Cable Network, Pacific Nations will soon have more than enough capacity to comfortably support crucial services such as e-health and e-learning that will have a significant and immediate impact on the many diverse economies and communities throughout the region.’

The backers of the planned South Atlantic Express (SAEx) cable system aiming to connect South Africa with the US are pushing ahead with the project after a hiatus of over five years. The SAEx cable has been in development since 2012, though MD Rosalind Thomas said that the business underwent a major restructuring in 2014 with new shareholders introduced: ‘This meant registering a new company here in South Africa and in Mauritius and obtaining approvals to transfer the intellectual property and obtaining new permits for the new companies.’ The executive added: ‘The routing also changed and included the design to go direct to the US. This meant going back to the drawing board and obtaining new designs using the latest technology as well as getting new price quotations for the revised routing from the two targeted vendors, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) and TE SubCom.’ Phase 1 of the project, which will extend from Mtunzini (South Africa) to Virginia Beach in the US, will offer a branch to Saint Helena island and cost an estimated USD480 million. Under stage 1A, the company will deploy a cable from Mtunzini via Cape Town to a point adjacent to Fortaleza (Brazil) and leave a stubbed branching unit facing the US; under stage 1B, SAEx will roll out the branching unit to the US (Virginia Beach). Phase 2, which could cost up to a further USD300 million, will extend the system from Mtunzini to the Malaysian peninsula via a four-fibre pair system with minimum design capacity of 48Tbps. SAEx expects Phase 1 to be ready for service (RFS) in the second half of 2020. The company expects to sign a contract with the selected vendor in the next two months and, once financial close has been achieved, the chosen vendor will begin implementation of the project, including a marine survey.

Connectivity and data centre solutions provider MainOne has reportedly secured a licence to provide national and international connectivity services in Cote d’Ivoire, as part of a West African expansion plan. The C1B licence will enable MainOne to deploy its submarine cable and build transmission infrastructure in Cote d’Ivoire, strengthen connectivity, reduce international capacity costs and support wholesale customers, major operators and ISPs. MainOne operates the Main One submarine cable system linking Portugal to Ghana and Nigeria and offers services in nine African countries, namely Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Cameroon, Benin, Niger, Senegal and Chad.

A fault which occurred on the Asia-Pacific Gateway (APG) submarine cable earlier this week has now been fixed, VietNam News writes. The cause has been identified as resetting of configuration on the cable by APG’s manager, with VNPT Group highlighting that the issue was fixed two weeks earlier than expected. The breakdown was earlier attributed to problems in the cable’s branch at the Chongming landing station near China, with the repair initially expected to take two or three weeks. This is the third time the APG has experienced issues this year; the cable was moved to a new location on 7 January 2018, due to the Singapore government project to expand Changi Airport, and suffered a fault 125km from Hong Kong in February.

Rostelecom has disclosed plans to commence a significant upgrade of its transcontinental Transit Europe-Asia (TEA) cable system this year. The upgrade will increase the capacity of TEA, which connects Europe with China and Japan, to 2Tbps, with individual channels offering 100Gbps. The upgrade is part of a TEA modernisation programme inaugurated in 2016. Natalia Kryuchkova, Vice President for Carrier Business at Rostelecom, said: ‘Further development of our TEA project is one of the key goals of Rostelecom wholesale business … With some of the largest operators in European and Asian regions as major customers, Rostelecom expects significant sales growth thanks to new network capabilities, and through engagement with new partners for traffic transmission.’ Going forward, Rostelecom plans to further upgrade the fibre-optic network’s capacity to 10Tbps within the next several years.

BICS and Fastweb have entered a strategic partnership to offer a combined connectivity solution which will link Europe to the Middle East, Asia and Africa via Sicily. The partnership enhances Fastweb’s access to major submarine cable systems in Sicily, while extending BICS’ Pan European Network through Fastweb’s fibre-optic backbone in Italy, connecting international submarine cable system routes. BICS CEO Daniel Kurgan said: ‘BICS has always been committed to providing its customers with first-class connectivity, and this partnership confirms our position as a bridging partner for operators expanding their capacity provision throughout Europe,’ while Fastweb’s Chief Wholesale Officer Fabrizio Casati added: ‘The partnership with BICS adds further value to our investments, following on from our participation in the Open Hub Med consortium in Sicily and the development of an innovative and future-proof Flexible Optical Network all along Italy.’

An unnamed next-generation transportation services company has selected Zayo Group Holdings to connect a new data centre in a major metropolitan area with its data centres on both coasts. The solution includes diverse metro connectivity along with 100G long haul wavelengths capacity. The network will extend the provider’s network, supporting its core business functions, corporate IT and research and development. The routes are designed to provide geographic diversity and bypass existing points of failure.

Satellite communications provider Globalstar has signed a merger agreement with Thermo Acquisitions, pursuant to which the following assets will be combined with Globalstar – metro fibre provider FiberLight, 15.5 million shares of common stock of CenturyLink, USD100 million of cash and minority investments in complementary businesses and assets of USD25 million – in exchange for Globalstar common stock valued at approximately USD1.65 billion, subject to adjustments. Thermo Acquisition is controlled by Jay Monroe, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Globalstar. At closing, the parent company will be renamed Thermo Companies and its stock will continue to be traded publicly. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the full Board of Directors and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018.

Lastly, ZenFi Networks and Cross River Fiber have announced plans to merge their operations. The two companies provide communications infrastructure and services in metropolitan New York and New Jersey. ZenFi operates in Manhattan, while Cross River operates in New Jersey, extending into other nearby areas of New York. Post-merger, the duo will have a combined 700 route miles of fibre-optic network, 130 on-net buildings, 49 colocation facilities and 1,700 outdoor wireless locations with more than 3,000 under contract. No further details on the merger have been released.

We welcome your feedback about the Cable Compendium. If you have any questions, topic suggestions, or corrections, please email editors@commsupdate.com

American Samoa, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Russia, Vietnam,Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), BICS (Belgacom International Carrier Services), CenturyLink, Fastweb, FiberLight, Globacom (Glo Nigeria), Globalstar, Hawaiki Cable, Huawei Technologies, MainOne Cable, Rostelecom, TE SubCom, VNPT-Vinaphone, Zayo Group,

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