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

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2 Jan 2015

An internet bandwidth export deal between the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) and India’s state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is expected to be signed by the middle of January, the Dhaka Tribune reports. At present, Bangladesh uses only 25Gbps of its 200Gbps international bandwidth, prompting the BSCCL to seek out interested parties to share its capacity. The deal, which follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in May last year, will see the unused capacity used by seven eastern Indian states. According to the newspaper, the so-called ‘Seven Sisters’ – namely Arunachal, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Shilong – have a huge demand for bandwidth, but are currently forced to rely on VSAT connectivity.

The backers of Arctic Fibre, a project which will see the deployment of a fibre-optic cable between the UK and Japan beneath Arctic waters has reportedly run into problems and as a result of delays, is unlikely to be operational until at least 2016, Alaskan news site Knom.org reports. Canadian telecoms firm Arctic Fibre is in charge of the undersea cable deployment, while Anchorage-based Quintillion Networks is the ‘middle-mile’ provider creating several spur lines that will connect the cable to telcos in Nome, Kotzebue, and other communities along the Bering Strait coast and the North Slope. Meanwhile, Quintillion is also hoping to tap into an overland cable set to run from Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope, down along the Dalton Highway, and on to Fairbanks and Anchorage. That part of the project, now being built by AT&T, has also faced several delays. Quintillion CEO Elizabeth Pierce told the news site: ‘Our in-service date will be the earlier of whichever one of those connections come into service, whether it’s the Dalton Highway first, AT&T’s build, or whether it’s our connection to Japan first. Whichever one of those comes in first, that’s when we’ll be able to turn up service. Either way, it’s going to be later into 2016 before we can turn up service.’

Kuala Lumpur-based Telekom Malaysia Berhad has been awarded a contract via an open tender process to deploy subsea cables connecting Peninsular Malaysia with Sabah and Sarawak. Known as Sistem Kabel Rakyat 1Malaysia (SKR1M), the undersea network will span approximately 3,500km and have an initial capacity of 4Tbps. The project will be established through a public-private partnership arrangement between the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Telekom Malaysia, and will be partially bankrolled by the Universal Services Provision Fund. SKR1M is expected to be operational by mid-2017.

Hibernia Networks has announced that it will land a direct connection of its Express cable to Cork, Ireland via a new landing station. Hibernia is the only transatlantic cable provider to own and operate three diverse cable landing stations in Ireland and the only company with six diverse routes connecting Ireland to North America and Europe on its wholly owned and operated infrastructure. John Mitchell, president of Hibernia’s vendor partner TE SubCom, commented: ‘TE Connectivity SubCom is pleased to continue our support of Hibernia in delivering their network. The cable route survey has been completed and more than 90% of lightweight cable, as well as 65% of armoured cable needed for the system has been manufactured, bringing us even closer to the installation phase. We are confident that the project is on target to be ready for provisional acceptance in summer 2015.’

On 23 December Australia’s Telstra formally unveiled a USD697 million takeover for Asian submarine cable giant Pacnet, with the deal expected to complete by mid-2015. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, earlier that month Telstra confirmed that it had entered talks to acquire Hong Kong-based Pacnet in a deal valued at up to USD1.04 billion. Pacnet was formed in January 2008 as a result of the merger of Asia Netcom and Pacific Internet. It owns around 46,500km of submarine cable between the US and Asia. The 9,620km EAC Pacific connects the US to Japan, and the 36,800km EAC-C2C links landing points across eight countries in Asia. Pacnet also boasts 110 points of presence globally.

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