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

12 Sep 2014

Seaborn Networks and Alcatel-Lucent announced this week that construction of the Seabras-1 fibre-optic submarine cable system between the United States and Brazil has commenced. Seaborn also noted that cable’s design has been increased to a six-fibre pair system, with a maximum upgradeable capacity of 60Tbps. Further, Seaborn has revealed that it has entered into an agreement with Microsoft Corp for capacity on Seabras-1. Larry Schwartz, CEO of Seaborn, commented: ‘We are extremely pleased to have Microsoft on board as the foundational customer for Seabras-1. With their full participation in the system, it is clear that Microsoft is highly committed to delivering the best cloud experience and infrastructure in Brazil and all of Latin America.’ Seabras-1, which will have landing stations in New York City and Sao Paulo, with an additional branch that lands in Fortaleza, Brazil. The cable has a ready-for-service date in 2016.

The long-awaited Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) submarine cable system appears to be nearing completion, Korean website dongA.com reports. The online portal notes that Korean carrier KT Corp has opened a network operating centre for the APG in the city of Busan and has confirmed that it is preparing for full operation in early 2015. The trans-Asian system has been in the works since May 2009, when a consortium of network operators in Asia agreed to lay more than 10,000km of fibre from Malaysia to Japan, connecting nine countries in total. However, progress stalled, and the project only really got going in July 2012 when Facebook joined the consortium. The current cable landing points for the APG are: Tanah Merah (Singapore), Kuantan (Malaysia), Songkhla (Thailand), Da Nang (Vietnam), Tseung Kwan O (Hong Kong), Toucheng (Taiwan), Nanhui and Chongming (both China), Busan (South Korea), and Shima and Maruyama (both Japan).

Hawaiki Cable Limited, the New Zealand-based owner and developer of the trans-Pacific Hawaiki Submarine Cable System, has selected Hawaiian Telcom as its landing partner in Hawaii. As part of its system architecture, Hawaiki will land its proposed 14,000km cable in Oahu. Under the Letter of Intent signed by both parties, Hawaiian Telcom will provide Hawaiki with turnkey infrastructure and connectivity, including a cable landing station and terrestrial infrastructure in Makaha, Oahu. Hawaiian Telcom will also be responsible for securing all relevant permissions in Hawaii.

On 4 September Cameroonian Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Jean Pierre Biyiti Bi Essam formally handed over the ownership of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) Submarine Fibre Optic Cable Landing Station in Limbe to state-backed CamTel. The facility was acquired from MTN Cameroon by the State of Cameroon on 14 July, for a total consideration of XAF14 billion (USD27.6 million). Following the handover, David Nkoto Emane, Camtel general manager, promised to work in synergy with other domestic telecoms companies to deliver improved broadband services to Cameroon’s citizens.

According to unconfirmed media reports, Level 3 Communications has indicated that its in-deployment submarine cable system, which will connect Colombia to its international network, is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2015. No source has been quoted by the report. The cable will land in the city of Cali, with the terrestrial segment of the cable being constructed in partnership with local telecoms operator * Empresas Municipales de Cali (EmCali)*.

Meanwhile, back on home soil, Level 3 and tw telecom this week announced that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has cleared the former company’s pending acquisition of the latter. The clearance completes the process under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, and is effective immediately. Level 3 agreed to acquire national enterprise provider tw telecom for USD7.3 billion in June this year.

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