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

11 May 2018

The 10,556km Monet submarine cable system connecting the US to Brazil is now fully operational, establishing an advanced digital gateway between the US and Brazil able to deliver more than 64Tbps of capacity. The introduction of commercial traffic and services via the undersea cable will improve current connectivity needs between Latin America and the US. Antonio Nunes, chairperson of the Monet Executive Committee, said: ‘The completion of the Monet submarine cable system is an extremely significant milestone for the market, by bringing a new generation of technology, in submarine cables, capable of facing the new challenge of digital evolution.’ The Monet Cable System is owned by Uruguayan state-owned operator Antel, Brazil’s Algar Telecom, Angolan wholesale provider Angola Cables and Alphabet (Google). Monet features six-fibre-pair cable and optical transmission technologies, with an initial design capacity of greater than or equal to 64Tbps. Shore landings for the Monet Cable include Boca Raton (Florida, US) and Sao Paolo (Brazil), with a branching unit extension to Fortaleza in Brazil. Further, Angola Cables can now offer customised amounts of capacity with Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme Spectrum Sharing capability. Customers can access Angola Cables’ spectrum sharing capability on the Monet system.

EllaLink (previously known as EulaLink) – a project aiming to provide the first direct submarine fibre-optic cable between Europe and Latin America – has announced the receipt of an EUR25 million (USD28 million) Intent to Award contract from European research network GEANT and its Latin American counterpart RedCLARA, in the form of a capacity purchase. Further, pan-European equity fund Marguerite II has signed an agreement to join the EllaLink submarine cable system as new sponsor to help develop the project. As currently planned, EllaLink will bring 72Tbps of connectivity between the two continents. The 10,119km-long EllaLink will land at Sines in Portugal and at Praia Grande near Sao Paolo (Brazil), with branches to Fortaleza (Brazil), the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira and the island nation of Cape Verde. Brazilian state-owned telecoms infrastructure provider Telebras will have a 35% stake in the cable, while Spain’s IslaLink will hold 45%; the remaining 20% will be owned by a yet-to-be identified Brazilian shareholder. The system will be deployed by Nokia’s Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) unit.

GlobeNet has announced plans to deploy a new 2,500km submarine cable that will link Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil to Buenos Aires (Argentina). The new cable will connect Argentina to the GlobeNet network in Brazil, effectively linking the Southern Cone of South America to the US, with onward connectivity to the rest of the world. It will connect GlobeNet’s cable landing station in Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo via a landing point in nearby Praia Grande, and to Buenos Aires via a landing point in Las Toninas, a coastal town southeast of the Argentinian capital. The new cable system will be ready for service (RFS) in the first half of 2020.

Global interconnection and data centre company Equinix and Telefonica’s infrastructure subsidiary Telxius have announced that they are working together on US facilities and services for the MAREA and BRUSA cable systems. The two cables will terminate directly into a cable landing station located in Virginia Beach (US) and will extend the backhaul capacity into Equinix DC2 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centre. The 6,605km MAREA subsea system – featuring eight fibre-pairs and an initial estimated design capacity of 160Tbps – links Virginia Beach (US) with Bilbao (Spain) and is owned and operated by Edge Cable Holdings (Edge USA – a direct subsidiary of social networking giant Facebook), Microsoft Infrastructure Group and Telxius. Telefonica’s subsidiary joined the two original partners Microsoft and Facebook in May 2016, to manage the construction process and operate the cable, with construction work on the system completed in September 2017. Telxius is also building BRUSA, a new 11,200km cable linking Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza (Brazil) with San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Virginia Beach (US) which will comprise eight fibre pairs, and is scheduled to be completed by mid-2018.

New York-based Cleareon has announced a submarine system to provide 100G between the transatlantic cable landing stations in Wall Township (New Jersey, US) and the 1025Connect facility in Westbury (Long Island, US). The new NYNJ-1 cable route – scheduled to go live in Q4 2018 – offers critical physical diversity as an alternative route that bypasses New York City. Cliff Kane, Co-CEO at Cleareon, said: ‘Subsea connectivity is becoming increasingly important as evidenced by sustained and growing investment in both regional and trans-oceanic systems … The users of these systems require true geographical diversity to support the resiliency that their customers demand. Cleareon’s NYNJ-1 cable effectively end-runs the entirety of New York City by connecting Long Island to Northern, NJ – all with ready connections to local access networks as well as the data centers, exchanges and DR facilities throughout the greater NYC metropolitan area.’ In addition to a PANMetro platform, NYNJ-1 will be supported by specific SLA assurances and defined service delivery parameters for both continuity and low-latency.

The Seychelles Cable System Company and the government of Seychelles have agreed to invest in a second fibre-optic cable, the Seychelles News Agency (SNA) writes. At present, the 115-island archipelago benefits from a sole fibre-optic cable, the Seychelles East Africa System (SEAS), connecting the main island Mahe to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. Benjamin Choppy, Principal Secretary of the Department of Information Communication Technology (DICT), told SNA: ‘If ever there is an interruption or cut on the fibre-optic cable, with the discussions that we’ve had with the main operators, it is almost impossible if not impossible for them to shift this amount of traffic onto the satellite in a short period of time … We are considering joining one of the cables that will be built in the region. There are always new projects coming up in the submarine cable sector and we are looking at joining a bigger cable that will be built.’ President Danny Faure meanwhile disclosed that ‘progress has been made and telecommunications companies Airtel and Cable and Wireless have agreed to invest in the second cable, together with the government’. The deployment of the new cable is expected to commence between late 2019 and 2020.

Crosslake Fibre has contracted IT International Telecom Canada as the cable installer for its 58km submarine cable directly connecting Toronto (Canada) with Buffalo (New York, US) via Lake Ontario. The submarine cable network, which will land northwest of Lockport on the US shores and close to Toronto’s downtown core on the Canadian end, is expected to be RFS by October 2018. Crosslake Fibre will own and operate the system as an independent operator and will offer dark fibre and managed services to enterprise and carrier customers, as well as ultra-low latency services to financial networks. Additionally, Crosslake Fibre has also announced plans for a submarine cable system, called Wall-LI, connecting cable landing stations in Wall (New Jersey) to Long Island (New York) with a RFS date of June 2019.

Telecom Egypt’s Board of Directors has approved the acquisition of the Middle East and North Africa Submarine Cable (MENA Cable) by its 50% owned subsidiary the Egyptian International Submarine Cables Company for a total enterprise value of USD90 million, to be financed through a shareholder loan from Telecom Egypt. The 8,100km MENA Cable (being sold by Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding [OTMT]) lands in Italy, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt and India.

Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), a subsidiary of Reliance Communications Limited (RCOM), and Cyprus’ telecoms provider PrimeTel have announced a 100Gbps upgrade to GCX’s HAWK submarine cable branch into Cyprus. RCOM’s COO Wilfred Kwan said: ‘The network enhancement has already started to attract interest across key growth markets and we are pleased that the first 100Gbps wavelength connection for a major carrier is already in the process of being activated.’ The Hawk cable has landing stations in Marseille (France), Yeroskipos (Cyprus) and Alexandria, Egypt, where it connects to GCX’s FLAG Europe-Asia cable.

EdgeConneX has disclosed that Seaborn Networks has chosen its Buenos Aires Edge Data Center (EDC) as the PoP in Argentina for Seaborn’s ARBR submarine fibre-optic cable system between Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). The 2,700km ARBR cable, which is being developed jointly by Seaborn Networks and the Grupo Werthein de Argentina, will comprise four fibre pairs with an initial maximum design capacity of 44Tbps; the cable is expected to be RFS in 2019.

International network service provider RETN has completed an upgrade of its Europe-Asia terrestrial route running through Kazakhstan. The TRANSKZ route was launched in 2016 in partnership with Transtelecom offering low latency and protected services between all major European markets to China and Hong Kong. Elsewhere, RETN extended its network to Singapore via a new PoP, which is linked to Marseille and Hong Kong via the SeaMeWe-5 and SJC cable systems, respectively. The route provides redundancy to the main terrestrial path to Asia, the TRANSKZ.

HGC Global Communications Limited (HGC) and China Telecommunications Corporation have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the construction of a new network interconnection system via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZM Bridge). This will be the first interconnection between fixed telecoms network service providers on the HZM Bridge, and is HGC’s fifth cross-border route between Mainland China and Hong Kong. The fibre cable will stretch along a 29.6km carriageway – including a 6.7km tunnel – connecting the Boundary Crossing Facilities in Hong Kong, Zhuhai, and Macau.

Coriant has revealed that C&W Networks, a Liberty Latin America company, has deployed the Coriant mTera Universal Transport Platform in its Pan-Caribbean network to optimise its network backbone for current and future high-speed service demands and to simplify multiservice bandwidth management. The project will be implemented in multiple phases, with initial deployment at core sites in Colombia, Curacao, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and the US. First phase deployment includes support for protected 100Gbps services, Ethernet aggregation and legacy SDH migration applications.

Epsilon has started the phased rollout of 100G packet optical switched Ethernet across its global backbone network, providing access to 100G connectivity via its Infiny platform from New York to Singapore. Under Phase One, Epsilon will upgrade its core US network connecting New York, Ashburn, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle, and Chicago. There will also be a deployment of new PoPs in Denver, Houston, Atlanta, Seattle and San Jose (all US) and Montreal and Toronto (Canada). Phase Two, scheduled to commence in the summer, will include 100G upgrades to Epsilon’s pan-European network, introducing 100G services between 50 PoP sites across key hub locations in London (the UK), Paris and Marseille (France), Frankfurt (Germany) and Amsterdam (the Netherlands). Sites in Asia-Pacific will be upgraded in 2019.

Lastly, Windstream Wholesale has announced the upcoming expansion of a new southern route from Los Angeles to Dallas, marking another milestone in the company’s 100G, nationwide fibre network expansion strategy. Connecting to the existing high-density metro fibre network in Phoenix, the new route will add almost 1,700 miles to Windstream’s existing coast-to-coast long-haul network. The southern route is scheduled for completion in Q3 2018.

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