Saint Helena’s government has signed a financing agreement for the Territorial Allocation of the Eleventh European Development Fund (EDF 11), with a total of EUR21.5 million (USD24.9 million) set to be released to support the delivery of the SHG Digital Strategy. Under the plan, the territory – part of the British Overseas Territory also encompassing Ascension and Tristan da Cunha islands – is aiming to connect to the planned South Atlantic Express (SAEx) cable system stretching from South Africa to the US, while some of the funding will also go to Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha. 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. Phase 1 of the revised 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 shortly, and once financial close has been achieved, the chosen vendor will begin implementation of the project, including a marine survey.
Finnish ICT company Cinia has revealed that C-Fiber Hanko will invest in the Arctic Connect project, aiming to build a digital bridge between Europe and Asia via the Northeast passage. The project is run by Cinia and commissioned by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications. C-Fiber Hanko has already invested in Cinia’s 1,200km C-Lion1 submarine cable from Rostock in the north German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to Finland’s capital Helsinki; the system consists of eight optical fibre pairs, with a total capacity of 144Tbps. The Arctic Connect route may also include an option for a submarine link between the Bay of Bothnia and the Hanko Peninsula, dubbed C-Lion2. Once completed, Arctic Connect would link Europe, North America and Asia. Under current plans, the system will comprise six fibre pairs with a capacity of 60Tbps and a total length of 18,000km.
The Australian government has awarded an AUD137 million (USD101 million) contract to Vocus Communications for the construction of a submarine cable system connecting Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Solomon Islands to Sydney (Australia). Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said: ‘Awarding the AUD136.6 million contract to delivery partner Vocus is a major milestone and signals the start of the physical installation of the Coral Sea Cable System (CSCS) … Australia will deliver and majority-fund the cables, with financial co-contribution from both PNG and Solomon Islands.’ Vocus said that it will now commence a ‘comprehensive programme of survey, manufacture, and deployment activities’ for the multi-terabit cable, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2019. Vocus is also set to deploy a domestic submarine cable network in the Solomon Islands to link Auki in Malaita Province, Noro (Western Province) and Taro (Choiseul Province) with the Honiara landing point, which will be jointly funded by Australia and the Solomon Islands.
Algeria’s Gas Transmission System Management Company (GRTG) and the Telecommunications Infrastructure Company (Comintal Algeria) have signed a ten-year rental agreement, under which Comintal will lease dark fibre installed along GRTG’s gas distribution network. GRTG’s 4,000km fibre network comprises 24 fibre strands, with only two currently utilised for monitoring the gas distribution grid. GRTG CEO Cherif Zeghoud said that going forward, his company is planning to deploy fibre along its entire gas distribution network spanning 21,000km, with DZD6 billion (USD50 million) earmarked for the first stage of the deployment.
Windstream Wholesale will strengthen its fibre transport network at NJFX’s Tier 3 carrier-neutral colocation campus at the Wall (NJ) cable landing station and deliver a route that bypasses New York City traffic for connection to Miami, Atlanta, Denver, Ashburn, Chicago, Dallas, Columbus, Los Angeles and other congested locations. Joe Scattareggia, Windstream Wholesale’s president, said: ‘This newest project is an overbuild of a system with newer, updated technology. As a more cost-effective and efficient solution, our customers will now have even greater access to the cable landing station in Wall. We are building a diverse path – particularly the Ashburn route, which avoids the busy Philadelphia metro – along with an upgrade of existing services, with increased and accelerated installation time frames, resulting in significantly improved service delivery.’
Lastly, Coriant has announced that GEANT has selected the Coriant Groove G30 Network Disaggregation Platform and Coriant Transcend Chorus transport network management solution to boost network capacity across core PoPs, including London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Paris, Geneva and Marseilles.
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