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

3 May 2019

Telecom Egypt has announced the inking of a landing party agreement worth USD45 million with Pakistan & East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) Cable International Network and PCCW Global, the international operating division of Hong Kong’s HKT. Telecom Egypt’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Adel Hamed said that this agreement marks the addition of another cable system to Telecom Egypt’s network of submarine cables: ‘The PEACE cable will cross Egypt through new diversified terrestrial routes between the Zafarana and AbouTalat cable landing stations, where Telecom Egypt will provide PEACE with brand new state of the art landing facilities.’ The first phase of the PEACE project will connect Pakistan (Gwadar and Karachi), Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya, while the second phase will provide an extended option to South Africa and Europe. The 200G subsea cabling system – expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020 – will boast a capacity of 16Tbps for each fibre pair. The 12,000km system will be deployed by Huawei Marine Networks; a contract for the cable manufacturing had been awarded to HENGTONG Marine.

Papua New Guinea’s Manus province is expected to have access to high speed internet by the end of the first quarter of 2020, the Post-Courier writes. PNG DataCo Limited is currently undertaking a topography survey for a Cable Landing Station (CLS) at the Manus NBC premises, and an Outside Support Plant (OSP) including a beach-manhole, to host the Kumul Domestic Cable. The 5,457km system is currently scheduled to be funded by the Export-Import Bank of China and rolled out by Huawei in preparation for the Coral Sea Cable System (CSCS). The network is aiming to connect 15 coastal provincial capitals, running between Port Moresby, Alotau, Popondetta, Lae and Madang. PNG DataCo Limited, the state-owned enterprise responsible for the provision of wholesale ICT transmission services under the newly-restructured business of Kumul Telikom Holdings Limited (KTHL), will own, manage and operate the cable system after its commissioning.

The Republic of Palau is seeking a new loan to land a second submarine cable in the country, Pacific news source Marianas Variety reports. President Tommy Remengesau Jr. was cited as saying that a second submarine cable (estimated to cost around USD25 million) will provide Palau with backup connectivity in case of a malfunction: ‘Recent examples in Tonga, Saipan, and the Marshall Islands, where the cut signal eliminated internet and telephone services for extended periods of time, have demonstrated the importance of continuous telecommunications services.’ Remengesau’s administration is considering ‘creative financing opportunities with regional and international partners’, with the country said to be in discussions with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) regarding the proposed loan. Currently, Palau is linked to the SEA-US system – connecting the Philippines and Indonesia to the west coast of the US via Guam and Hawaii – via a branching unit located between the Philippines and Guam; it has an initial design capacity of 500Gbps, using NEC’s 100Gbps technology, and was deployed using financing provided by the ADB. The 15,000km SEA-US submarine cable is owned by a consortium comprising RAM Telecom International (RTI), Globe Telecom, Hawaiian Telcom, Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Teleguam Holdings (GTA), GTI Corporation (a member of the Globe Telecom group of companies) and Telkom USA. The 100G system – which bypasses congested, earthquake-prone areas – delivers 20Tbps capacity, and has a minimum of 25 years of commercial life.

MainOne Company is on track to land the MainOne submarine cable in Cote d’Ivoire and launch services in the capital Abidjan by October 2019, following the award of a licence to provide national and international connectivity services in the country in mid-2018. MainOne’s Regional Executive Kazeem Oladepo was cited as saying that the Nigerian broadband company has made ‘significant progress’ in the implementation of the project and that all critical surveys are now completed, with work currently ongoing at the Cable Landing Station and Data Centre in Abidjan. ‘By investing in this infrastructure, we hope to bring meaningful and much-needed technology solutions to businesses and enable them in their quest for improved productivity and efficiency through dedicated and reliable connectivity services. We are prepared to collaborate with operators to expand capacity in Cote d’Ivoire and neighbouring countries to enhance regional integration and global access,’ Oladepo said, adding that the strategic location of the data centre in the Grand-Bassam technology free trade zone (VITIB) will further strengthen the digital ecosystem in the zone. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, MainOne entered into a strategic agreement with Orange Group in September 2018, under which the two partners will construct and install two new branches and stations on the system. These will connect the cable to Dakar in Senegal and Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) by mid-2019; Orange will be the owner of the cable station in Dakar. Orange Marine, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Orange Group, has been chosen to manage the installation of the two new branches. The 7,000km MainOne cable system was launched in 2010 and has landing stations in Lagos (Nigeria), Accra (Ghana) and Seixal (Portugal).

Mozambique Telecom (Tmcel), the state-backed fixed and mobile operator in Mozambique, has signed a USD2.5 million contract with the Elitis International consortium for the repair of the Maputo-Beira submarine cable, following a tender launched in mid-2018, local news source A Verdade writes. The repair of the submarine cable will guarantee the redundancy of the fibre-optic backbone, thus improving the quality of services for national customers, as well as the interconnection services with neighbouring countries, including Zimbabwe and Malawi.

TELE-POST Greenland has revealed that it is revising its expectations for 2019 downwards due to the damage to the country’s submarine cables, among other things. It now forecasts pre-tax profit of between DKK80 million-DKK90 million (USD10 million-USD12 million), down from a reported figure of DKK138.7 million in 2018 and DKK147.2 million in 2017. Greenland had experienced two damaged submarine cables in the span of several weeks, after the Greenland Connect cable suffered a break between Nuuk and Qaqortoq on 27 December 2018 and the Greenland Connect Nord system was cut on 21 January. While Greenland Connect Nord was repaired in March 2019, TELE-POST suspended its plans to repair the outstanding submarine cable damage on the Greenland Connect in the following month, due to severe weather conditions, after attempts to repair the line north of Qaqortoq resulted in a loss of equipment.

MTA Fiber Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alaska’s MTA, has announced plans to build the Alaska Canada Overland Network (AlCan ONE), an all-terrestrial fibre network connecting Alaska to the US and beyond. The new network will initially have capacity of over 100Tbps, which can be expanded and increased in the future, and will run between North Pole, near Fairbanks, and Alcan Border, where it will connect with Canadian carriers, and ultimately the Lower 48. Construction of the new terrestrial fibre line has commenced and will continue throughout 2019, with plans to be completed by mid-2020.

Lastly, SP Telecom, a joint venture between ST Engineering and SP Group, is planning to build a Software-Defined Network with Network Functions Virtualization (SDN-NFV) as an alternative to the existing network infrastructure in Singapore. The new fibre-optic network will be deployed alongside SP Group’s power lines. SP Telecom has engaged PCCW Solutions as its consultancy partner to develop the end-to-end SDN-NFV fibre network solution. SP Telecom’s new digital service will be showcased at SP Telecom’s Innovation Hub which will be ready by the end of June 2019.

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