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

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31 Jan 2014

17 major international carriers have partnered to announce the construction of a new submarine cable system called Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1). The 25,000km submarine cable will run from south east Asia to Africa and Europe through Egypt, connecting Singapore, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand , Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Djibouti, Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Italy and France. AAE-1 will employ 100Gbps technology with wavelength add/drop branching units along the route. The extensive list of telcos participating in the project is believed to include: BT Group (UK), China Unicom (China), Chuan Wei (Cambodia), Djibouti Telecom (Djibouti), Etisalat (UAE), HKT (Hong Kong), Mobily (Saudi Arabia), Omantel (Oman), OTE Globe (Greece), Ooredoo Group (Qatar), PCCW Global (Hong Kong), Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL, Pakistan), Telecom Egypt (Egypt), TeleYemen (Yemen), TOT (Thailand) and Viettel Group (Vietnam). PCCW Global hosted a signing ceremony for the construction and maintenance agreement in Hong Kong on 27 January 2014. The target completion date for the cable itself is 2016.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted the Pacific Caribbean Cable System (PCCS) Consortium, led by Telefonica International Wholesale Services, a licence to construct, land and operate an undersea cable system linking the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Puerto Rico, Aruba, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador and the continental United States. The PCCS will have eight landing stations, one in the US (Florida), one in Puerto Rico (San Juan), two in Panama (Maria Chiquita and Balboa) and one each in the BVI (Tortola), Aruba (Hudishibana), Colombia (Cartagena) and Ecuador (Manta). The landing stations in Aruba, Colombia, Puerto Rico and Maria Chiquita will all utilise existing facilities, while the landing stations in Florida and Ecuador will be newly constructed. Meanwhile, existing landing stations in the BVI and Balboa will be expanded. At the landing station in Hudishibana, Aruba, the PCCS will interconnect with the Alonso de Ojeda 2 cable (which will be independently completed prior to the PCCS’s service date) to connect the system to Curacao. Prior to the FCC’s permission being granted, questions were raised over whether Aruba provides effective competitive opportunities for US carriers to own and operate submarine cable facilities. However, multiple US-licensed carriers already hold interests in the PAN-AM Cable, which lands in Baby Beach, Aruba and has already been approved by the FCC, on account of its landing station in St Croix, in the US Virgin Islands (USVI). First unveiled in December 2012, the 6,000km PCCS will have an ultimate design capacity of 80Tbps. Alongside Telefonica, other consortium members include: the BVI and Panamanian units of UK-based Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), Aruba’s Setar, Telconet of Ecuador, and pan-Caribbean telco United Telecommunication Services (UTS).

FirstLight Fiber, a facilities-based service provider operating fibre-optic networks in upstate New York and Northern New England with connectivity to Canada, has entered into a relationship with Canadian telecoms provider Fibrenoire to provide Ethernet services between the US and Canada. FirstLight gained entry into Canada when it purchased Vermont-based TelJet in April 2013.

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) has completed the deployment of a 300km stretch of submarine cable, linking Taytay in Palawan to San Jose de Buenavista in Iloilo, which is one of the telco’s major hubs within its Domestic Fiber Optic Network (DFON). The rollout cost PHP861 million (USD19 million) to implement.

Cisco Systems and Bashinformsvyaz of Russia, one of the largest service providers in the Urals region, have completed another phase in the upgrade of the telco’s multiservice network operating in the territory of the Republic of Bashkortostan. Bashinformsvyaz added new capabilities to its existing DWDM network, which is based on Cisco’s ONS 15454 multiservice transport platform (MSTP).

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