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

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7 Mar 2014

A number of international telecoms titans have met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to sign an agreement to collaborate on the South East Asia – Middle East -Western Europe 5 (SEA-ME-WE 5) cable. Spanning approximately 20,000km, SEA-ME-WE 5 is designed to connect 17 countries, with points-of-presence (POPs) spanning Singapore, the Middle East, France and Italy. SEA-ME-WE 5 is expected to start carrying commercial traffic by early 2016, and is designed to provide upgradable transmission facilities via 100Gbps technology. Fully loaded, it will be capable of carrying 24,000Gbps of capacity, which is the equivalent of transmitting about 4,800 high-definition movies per second. The following companies have been named as members of the SEA-ME-WE 5 consortium: Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), China Mobile International Limited (CMI), China Telecommunications Global Limited (CTG), China United Network Communications Group Company Limited (CU), Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du), Orange Group, Myanmar Post and Telecom (MPT), PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel), Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), Telekom Malaysia Berhad, Telecom Italia Sparkle (TIS), TOT and TeleYemen.

Following a two day meeting between a number of African telecoms ministers in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Chad and Republic of Congo signed the Brazzaville Declaration, pledging to connect Central Africa with a fibre-optic broadband network. According to Balancing Act Africa, the agreement may yet hinge on the participation of the Central African Republic (CAR), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Cameroon, with the latter offering landlocked Chad’s most viable route to the sea. That said, a bilateral memorandum on interconnection between Republic of Congo and Gabon was signed at the Build Africa forum at the beginning of February, suggesting progress may yet be made by the non-participants.

According to Latin American press sources, communications colossus Telefonica has unveiled plans to deploy a USD15 million fibre-optic ring covering Central America. The terrestrial cable, which will span 3,158 miles, will link Mexico to Panama, via Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The fibre link will have an initial capacity of 10Gbps.

Broadband behemoth KDDI of Japan will establish a new submarine cable landing station, the Chikura-Westhill Cable Landing Station in Minamiboso City, Chiba Prefecture, to serve as a hub for its international communications links. The landing station will be located some 28m above sea level, where it will not be affected by tsunamis that may be generated by large-scale earthquakes.

According to CommsMEA, Gigabit goliath Gulf Bridge International (GBI) has signed memorandum of understandings (MOUs) with Djibouti Telecom and the Djibouti Data Centre (DDC) to land an extension to the GBI cable in Djibouti. Ahmed Mekky, CEO of GBI, commented: ‘Djibouti’s strategic position in East Africa and the extending reach of GBI’s network system spanning from Singapore to all major cities in Europe will enhance our customer’s global and regional business interests’.

Seaborn has mandated Natixis, a major French bank, to act as sole structuring bank, underwriter and lead arranger for its USD290 million Seabras-1 submarine cable system. Seabras-1, is a 40Tbps, four fibre-pair system, which will extend 10,400km between Sao Paulo, Brazil and New York, USA, with a branch landing in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Long-haul leviathan Tata Communications and Turkcell Superonline of Turkey have signed a collaboration agreement to set up a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) node in Istanbul. This collaboration strengthens the reach of Tata’s global MPLS network, and brings direct and robust connectivity to global and regional businesses into and out of the region.

datamena, the carrier neutral data centre and connectivity platform based in the UAE and serving the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, signed an agreement with Turk Telekom International (TTI) during the Capacity Middle East conference, to establish a PoP that will expand the company’s reach into the Middle East and beyond.

UK fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) operator Hyperoptic has expanded its 1Gbps broadband footprint outside of London for the first time. The company now offers high-speed broadband access to residential and commercial properties in Bristol, Cardiff, and Reading. The service provider says it selected these cities for expansion ‘based on a number of factors’, which include service demand and population density. The company plans to further increase its operating range later in the year, including deeper penetration into London. The company expects to cover half a million homes by 2018. Hyperoptic inaugurated its 1Gbps service in London in September 2011.

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