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

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10 Jan 2014

Construction work on the new USD80 million submarine cable planned by Cambodian internet service provider (ISP) Ezecom is around five months behind schedule, CEO Paul Blanche-Horgan has confirmed. As such, the project is now likely to be operational by the first quarter of 2015 rather than by the end of this year. The 1,425km cable will run between landing stations in Preah Sihanouk province and Kuantan, the state capital of Pahang in Malaysia, where it will connect to the Asia America Gateway (AAG). Previously, in May 2011 Ezecom acquired fibre-optic company Telcotech, which has a stake in the AAG.

Brazilian telecoms watchdog La Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes (Anatel) has approved telecoms carrier Oi’s sale of its undersea fibre company GlobeNet to Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual. Previously, on 20 December, Oi confirmed that it had completed the sale of its entire equity interest in GlobeNet for around USD780 million. The transaction was first announced by Oi in July 2013.

Netherlands-based telco KPN has extended its wholesale vectoring service rollout to 29 of its existing VDSL ‘Outer Rings’. The deployment, which formed the first part of a pilot fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) project, commenced in March, and will ultimately cover 1.6 million locations. In related news, KPN is said to be making progress with its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) rollout, and is now offering eligible customers symmetrical 500Mbps speeds in areas where it currently offers a symmetrical 100Mbps service using Ethernet over Fibre (EoF) technology.

Ciena has announced that it has deployed 100Gbps technology for TDF, one of continental Europe’s largest owners of broadcast and telecoms masts. TDF’s high-capacity network, which stretches 4,200km, is connected to data centres in Paris, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille and Rennes, and is expected to be increased to 5,000km by the end of 2014. The performance of the new network was tested and approved on a long-haul transmission network from Bordeaux to Marseille (via Paris).

On 5 January full capacity was restored to the Vietnamese segment of the AAG submarine cable, FPT Telecom has confirmed. The link between Vung Tau, in southern Vietnam, and Hong Kong was cut on 20 December, hampering Vietnamese internet traffic. The 20,000km AAG has encountered frequent breaks and outages since it was declared ready for service in late 2009. The cable connects south-east Asia with the US mainland.

The management of African cable system SEACOM has revealed that the company is keen to explore growth opportunities in African territories that it does not directly serve in 2014. CEO Mark Simpson told BizTechAfrica: ‘During the past year, we have seen terrific progress. Our investments in West coast capacity, our African ring and meshed IP networks have started to come into their own – developments that have been really good for SEACOM’s customers. Terrestrial fibre penetration has also improved and we’re seeing continued and essential access network developments across our markets. These factors helped us to grow in 2013 and will continue to fuel our evolution in 2014’.

Submarine cable specialist TE SubCom, has completed the installation of a second subsea fibre-optic cable system that uses coherent transmission and demonstrated 13Tbps capacity over a distance of 6,500km without any regeneration. The new pan-Asian system joins the company’s first coherent system, which was approximately 1,350km.

US-based CenturyLink has suggested that it may look to acquire further metropolitan fibre networks or data centres in the near future. Chief financial officer Stewart Ewing told the Citi Internet Media & Telecommunications Conference: ‘Our main focus is on areas [that] will help us continue to get to revenue stability, which are metro fibre networks or data centres or data centre capacity, both of which we could do a really good job with through our capital budget today’.

A political furore has erupted in Liberia over unsubstantiated claims that local businessmen the Muah Brothers are in position to take full control of the government’s interest in the Cable Consortium of Liberia (CCL). Speculation has been rife that the siblings were well positioned to seize control of the asset after a newspaper article by suspended Libtelco board member Ciata Victor emerged earlier this month. Previously, on 23 December President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf suspended the entire Libtelco board with immediate effect, pending the outcome of an investigation into its alleged failure to stick to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act in concluding a contract with Swiss company Ketter Telecom (K3).