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

24 Aug 2018

Asia-Pacific fibre infrastructure company Superloop has issued a progress report regarding its in-deployment INDIGO subsea cable, noting that it has already completed the marine survey, cable system manufacturing and factory testing for both INDIGO-West and INDIGO-Central, the drilling phase in Sydney for the landing of two subsea cables, installation of the beach manhole in Sydney for INDIGO-Central, and an agreement to provide its second landing facility to Southern Cross. The Perth landing is expected to complete in early September, the Sydney landing in mid-October, the INDIGO-Central final splice in early December, and the INDIGO-West final splice in late December. New Superloop CEO Drew Kelton commented: ‘Construction of one of our biggest infrastructure projects, the INDIGO international subsea cable system, is progressing ahead of plan, and subject to weather conditions could be completed ahead of schedule and before the end of this financial year.’ The two cables, which are being built in conjunction with SingTel, Google, Indosat Ooredoo and Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNET) will together span more than 9,000km, connecting Sydney, Perth, Singapore, and Jakarta.

Huawei Marine and Megacable have announced that work is underway on the marine survey for their previously announced Topolobambo – La Paz project. The submarine cable system will provide more stable and low-latency communication for La Paz, Mexico’s second largest tourist destination. Located at the southern end of the Baja California Peninsula, La Paz’s communication connection to Mexico’s mainland is currently via the Peninsula’s terrestrial fibre system. The new cable system will connect La Paz directly to Topolobambo on the mainland via an undersea cable across the Gulf of California. The Topolobambo – La Paz submarine cable system is a 250km unrepeatered submarine cable system with 24 fibre pairs. The system, which will have a capacity of 192Tbps, is planned for delivery in Q2 2019.

African submarine cable operator SEACOM is said to be in advanced discussions to acquire South Africa’s FibreCo, which owns a national open access network and provides telecoms services to enterprises, the government, and carrier clients. FibreCo’s 4,000km fibre network consists of underground fibre routes and carrier-grade equipment hosting facilities interconnecting over 59 PoPs in South Africa. Sources told local site MyBroadband that FibreCo has accepted an offer from SEACOM, but that discussions regarding the acquisition are ongoing. It is understood that regulatory approvals are also necessary for an acquisition of this size.

In the UK, meanwhile, work is understood to be ongoing to repair the SHEFA-2 submarine cable between the Scottish islands of Shetland and Orkney. The cable, which also connects the Faeroe Islands, is owned by Faroese Telecom. The telco’s chief executive, Pall Vesturbu, told Shetland News: ‘We are doing some planned improvement work on a part of the segment of the [SHEFA-2] cable between Shetland and Orkney … While the work is going on the operators in Shetland should be able to reroute the traffic to Faroe Islands and over another subsea cable back to Scotland.’

The American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA) is experiencing financial difficulties, with acting chief executive Falaovaoto Sualevai saying that ASTCA’s cash situation was limiting its ability to keep operations going and that management maintained restricted funds to pay for the capacity the telco has sought on the new Hawaiki cable. The branching unit to American Samoa cost around AUD30 million (USD22.1 million), with ASTCA freezing all other planned and in-development projects in lieu of the cable deployment.

Over in the US, Conterra Ultra Broadband Holdings (Conterra Networks) has announced the signing of an agreement to acquire Network Communications Telecom, a Longview, Texas-based regional fibre-optic-based telecoms business. This transaction will expand Conterra Networks’ fibre in two of its largest operating states, Texas and Louisiana. Network Communications’ network will significantly increase the fibre density in Shreveport, Louisiana and East Texas and add last-mile and regional transport access to thousands of enterprise businesses in the region. The acquisition is expected to close on 31 August 2018 and is complementary to the recently completed acquisitions of Network USA and Detel that also provide fibre-based services to Louisiana and East Texas.

Finally, sticking with the US, GigaMonster has completed a USD45 million funding round with Post Road Group and a merger with Portland-based fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) provider Fibersphere Communications to expand its West Coast presence. Founded in 2015, GigaMonster now operates in more than 25 markets nationwide.

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