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

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30 May 2014

Russian telco Rostelecom has selected Tehkompaniya Huawei, a wholly owned subsidiary of China’s Huawei Technologies, to build out a submarine cable system linking the Sakhalin, Magadan, and Kamchatka regions in Russia. The project is designed to deliver a reliable communication link capable of providing modern high-quality telecoms services to residents in the region – something that cannot be achieved with the help of satellite communications, according to Rostelecom president, Sergei Kalugin. The Russian group confirms the new undersea link will be made up of four fibre-optic cables spanning a total of 1,855km, with maximum throughput of 8Tbps. The cost of the project is approximately RUB3 billion (USD87 million), and with preparatory work underway already, the submarine cable is expected to be technically ready in 2015, with an in-service date of June 2015.

Telecommunications infrastructure company SubPartners is looking to construct a new undersea cable to connect Perth and Sydney, known as APX-Central – the so-called ‘missing link’. APX-Central, a 5,300km cable with a four fibre-pair system and an initial design capacity of 32Tbps, is expected to be ready for service in 2Q16. The system will on its path also connect Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart, the firm said. SubPartners notes that APX-Central will complement its APX-West cable link, connecting Singapore to Perth, and will provide connectivity to under-served parts of Tasmania and South Australia. New Jersey’s TE SubCom is supplying the necessary equipment for both strands of the project.

Satellite and fibre-based connectivity provider Gilat Satcom has set up a new point of presence (PoP) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, connecting to both the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) and SEACOM submarine cables, and providing Gilat with advanced telecommunications services, such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), with full redundancy. Lagos-based Gilat Satcom now boasts connectivity in the region via the aforementioned links and the West Africa Cable System (WACS), accessed via fibre local loops spanning Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and Mozambique. Its CEO Dan Zaijcek said of the latest expansion: ‘We continue to invest heavily in expanding our operations in Africa on fibre to provide complete MPLS services with full redundancy’.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) plans to commit additional investment of around PHP1 billion (USD22.9 million) to add a further 15,000km of new fibre-optic cable facilities in 2014, extending the group’s total fibre network to nearly 100,000km by the end of this year. PLDT president and CEO Napoleon L Nazareno, said: ‘We are further fortifying our fibre advantage which is critical to our ability to handle the expected explosion of data traffic in the coming years.’ The official went on to add: ‘Our changing revenue mix underscores that our future clearly lies in data and fibre, driving our strategic investments in technical infrastructure in recent years and giving us a decisive advantage in today’s data-driven world.’ In 2014, the company plans to shore up its facilities in Northern Luzon through the installation of almost 600km of fibre-optics. ‘The ongoing reinforcement programme for our Northern Luzon DFON will make our network more resilient and less susceptible to fibre breaks that could result in the disruption of our services, the areas being vulnerable to fibre cuts due to typhoons, landslides, and public works diggings,’ said Rolando Pena, PLDT Network Group head.

PCCW Global, the international operating division of HKT, Hong Kong’s premier telecommunications service provider, and United Arab Emirates-based Etisalat Group, which has telecoms operations in 19 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, have signed a group framework agreement (GFA) for voice interconnection services. Under the GFA, Etisalat will be able to access PCCW Global’s international IPX network to secure guaranteed end-to-end delivery of voice and mobile data services to more than 50 destinations over a private and managed IP network. The Hong Kong-based firm owns and operates one of the world’s largest private IP backbones that combines Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), IPL, terrestrial and satellite links as well as PCCW Global’s 50-plus IPX interconnections.

Finally, Tele-Post Greenland has selected Canada-based IT Telecom to explore the possibility of deploying a new subsea cable to connect Nuuk to Qasigiannguit. The move forms part of a wider exploration into opportunities to set up submarine cable systems between Nuuk, Maniitsoq, Sisimiut, Aasiaat and Qasigiannguit. Further, the IT Telecom-led study – due to take place between May and July 2014 – will look to find the optimum route for the proposed Greenland Connect Nord submarine cable. Greenland-based firms will carry out 35% of the work on the contract.

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