India’s Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), operating under the supervision of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has granted Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for the landing of the Bay of Bengal Gateway Submarine Cable System (BBGSCS). The EAC has cleared the Indian components of the 100Gbps system, with the cable landing separately in Mumbai and Chennai. Vodafone Group has already undertaken the work at the cable landing point in Mumbai, while Reliance affiliate Infotel Telecom is carrying out the works at Santhome Beach, Chennai. The 8,000km system also lands Barka (Oman), Fujairah (UAE), Ratmalana (Sri Lanka) and Penang (Malaysia). The project is being carried out by a consortium that also includes Vodafone Group, Omantel, Etisalat, Reliance Infocom, Dialog and Telekom Malaysia. Work on the cable commenced in May 2013, with the cable now expected to be ready for service by the end of 2014.
Alcatel-Lucent has announced that work on the 20,000km-long South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 5 (SEA-ME-WE 5) submarine cable is now underway. Alca-Lu is taking care of the Sri Lanka-France deployment, while fellow system provider NEC will oversee the Singapore-Sri Lanka segment. When complete, the system will connect Singapore to Europe (Italy and France) and traverse Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Oman, UAE, Yemen, Djibouti and Saudi Arabia. SEA-ME-WE 5 is expected to be ready for service by 2016.
Didon, Tunisia’s first private subsea system, has reportedly been switched on by partners Ooredoo Tunisia and Orange Tunisia. The 170km cable stretches between the coastal town of Kelibia and Mazara del Vallo on Sicily. The infrastructure, which was supplied by Alcatel-Lucent, is expected to offer capacity of 8TBps; the two telcos entered into the deployment pact back in May 2013.
Huawei together with China Mobile has announced that successful tests on the first 400Gbps optical transport network (OTN) have taken place in China. Since 2012, Huawei has cooperated with KPN to deploy the first ever 400G fibre-optic amplifier (FOA) on a pan-European backbone, worked with Telefonica to deploy the industry’s first 400G OTN, and also cooperated with India’s Tata to field test the industry’s longest 400G submarine optical cable.
Colt has announced activation of a new, fully operational network route from Dublin to London via Manchester, complementing its existing low latency route from Dublin to London via Birmingham. This latest expansion completes a network ring that links the two capital cities. The carrier’s infrastructure consists of a 47,000km European network, connecting 42 metropolitan area networks, 195 European cities and 20 Colt data centres, as well as 37,500km of transatlantic routes.
And finally, plans to bring high speed broadband to Scotland’s Western Isles have been delayed after an eight-tonne plough became snagged on the seabed. The blunder, which occurred in the Sound of Harris, means a rescue operation will have to be mounted to pull the fibre-optic cable up from 383ft (117m). The mistake happened as the French-registered ship Rene Descartes was travelling between Harris and Lewis. An Orange spokeswoman confirmed: ‘On 13 September, while the cable ship Rene Descartes – owned and operated by Orange Marine – was laying the Scottish Highlands and Islands broadband submarine cable between the islands of North Uist and Harris, the plough got caught and sank.’
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