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

9 Nov 2018

The Portuguese government is planning to start work on developing new submarine cables to connect Portugal to the country’s autonomous regions in 2019. The Jornal de Negocios writes that the government’s budget proposal for 2019 states: ‘The government will start in 2019 the necessary actions to ensure the replacement of submarine cable interconnections between the continent and the autonomous regions, as well as between its islands, to ensure that the regions are served by good telecommunications infrastructures.’ No funds have been earmarked for the deployment yet.

Global Marine Systems has been contracted to undertake an emergency cable repair to the Concerto 1 North fibre-optic cable in the North Sea. The CS Sovereign vessel arrived on site on 2 November 2018, and the repair was expected to take approximately five days, depending on weather and other operational conditions. The 550km Concerto 1, which was built in 1999, by Alcatel for Interoute Group, is a submarine cable system in the North Sea connecting the UK, Netherlands and Belgium in a loop.

Virgin Media has filed cases in the High Court against the owners of two Wexford-based fishing trawlers, over alleged damage done by the vessels to its undersea cables. The Journal.ie writes that Virgin Media is seeking a six-figure sum from at least one of the trawlers following technical issues which arose a number of years ago.

Zayo Group Holdings is planning to start the deployment of two new long-haul dark fibre routes – from Columbus, Ohio to Ashburn, Virginia and Dallas, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia – early next year. The Columbus-Ashburn network expansion will add approximately 400 route miles of high-capacity fibre and is expected to provide the lowest latency between Chicago and Ashburn, as it will bypass major network congestion and overlap points. The Dallas-Atlanta route will add 870 miles to Zayo’s footprint.

International network service provider RETN has announced the launch of a new high speed fibre-optic route between Russia and Latvia. The completed DWDM route connecting Moscow and Riga utilises Infinera’s FlexILS equipment and thus is seamlessly integrated into the extensive cross-border optical network which is fully owned and operated by RETN. The 1,195km route, which is 100G-enabled, also provides additional redundancy to the Scandinavian and Baltic rings linking Baltic states to Northern and Western Europe on the RETN network. Leonid Shuralev, Commercial Director at RETN Baltic, commented: ‘This year we significantly increased our operational activity in the Baltic and Scandinavian markets due to acquisition of OPTRON SIA and opening of the new RETN office in Stockholm. With the launch of the Moscow-Riga DWDM route we are delighted to start offering our customers more opportunities to connect to and from these regions.’

Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has completed the acquisition of the submarine telecoms business of TE Connectivity, TE SubCom. Upon closing, the business has been rebranded to SubCom. As reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium in September 2018, TE Connectivity reached a deal to sell its submarine business for USD325 million in cash to Cerberus. TE Connectivity CEO Terrence Curtin said at the time: ‘The SubCom business is a leader in the undersea telecommunications market, and distinctly different from the rest of TE’s connectivity and sensor portfolio. We are pleased that with this transaction we increase our focus as a leading industrial technology company. It strengthens our business model; resulting in a stronger growth profile, reduced cyclicality, higher margins, and a greater return on investment.’

Zayo Group Holdings will separate into two publicly traded companies – new infrastructure arm InfraCo will focus on providing core communications infrastructure, while EnterpriseCo will provide solutions for a broad set of enterprise customers. InfraCo will be comprised of the current Fiber Solutions and zColo business segments, along with the Wavelength and IP Transit businesses of Zayo’s current Transport segment. It will own and operate Zayo’s Tier 1 IP backbone. EnterpriseCo will be comprised of the current Enterprise Networks and Allstream segments, along with the SONET and Ethernet businesses of Zayo’s current Transport segment. Dan Caruso, chairman and CEO of Zayo, said: ‘This transaction positions InfraCo as the largest pure-play fibre-focused communications infrastructure provider and creates an opportunity for EnterpriseCo to fully focus on our extensive enterprise customer base, solution set and business model while maintaining a strategic relationship with InfraCo. As we operate independent businesses today, we anticipate the transition to be fairly straightforward.’

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