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

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28 Feb 2014

The King of Morocco Mohammed VI, accompanied by the president of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, inaugurated the Malian section of the Trans-African Optical Fiber Cable on Saturday in Bamako, Mali, AllAfrica reports. The terrestrial cable links the city of Sikasso (which acts as a crossroads between four coastal countries – Togo, Benin, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire – and the landlocked Mali and Burkina Faso) with Gogui, a small frontier town which shares a border with Mauritania. Stretching over 1,064km, this section of cable has been funded by Maroc Telecom subsidiary SOTELMA, and took eleven months to deploy. When completed, the Trans-African Optical Fiber Cable will span 5,698km and link Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. The total investment needed has been calculated at XOF13 billion (USD27.1 million).

New Delhi-based Aksh Optifibre has reportedly won the contract to supply fibre-optic cables for Package B of India’s National Optic Fiber Network (NOFN) backbone project. The NOFN project aims to connect over 250,000 gram panchayats (local government institutions in villages or small towns) across India. Scheduled for completion by September 2015, the project is expected to deliver theoretical download speeds of up to 100Mbps.

Rogelio Benitez, the head of state-owned Compania Paraguaya de Comunicaciones (Copaco), has announced plans to expand the company’s existing fibre-optic network in the Chaco region to the border with Bolivia. According to local press reports, Copaco has won the tender to deploy the network, which is expected to lead to lower wholesale broadband prices. Currently, landlocked Paraguay and Bolivia pay high prices for access and with this interconnection, the two nations will boast greater capacity to connect to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, where a number of international submarine cables land.

Brazil and the European Union (EU) have agreed to lay an undersea communications cable from Lisbon, Portugal to Fortaleza, Brazil to reduce the South American nation’s reliance on the United States after the US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on President Dilma Rousseff’s emails and phone records last year. At a summit in Brussels, Rousseff said the USD185 million submarine cable project was central to ‘guarantee the neutrality’ of the internet, signalling her desire to shield Brazil’s internet traffic from US surveillance.

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