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

9 Jan 2015

Simon Fletcher, CEO of Vanuatu-based Interchange (PNG) Limited, has revealed that work on the Melanesian Cable Solution (MCS), which will link Vanuatu to Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea (PGN), is on track and the deployment is set to be completed by June 2016, The National reports. In October 2014 Interchange signed a deal with state-owned wholesale enterprise, PNG DataCo Limited, under which the latter will obtain a 75% stake in the submarine cable for USD72 million. TeleGeography believes that the MCS is an alternative name for the Interchange Cable Network 2 (ICN2). As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, the USD30 million ICN1 system – linking Port Vila, Vanuatu to Suva, Fiji – was declared ready for commercial service in January 2014. When completed, the 3,000km ICN2/MCS cable system will feed directly into the Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) which connects Sydney, Australia to Hawaii.

Global Cloud Xchange (GCX, previously known as Reliance Globalcom) has announced that it will deliver 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connectivity between the US and Europe to US-based global cloud networking provider GTT Communications over its trans-Atlantic FA-1 North and FA-1 South cables. According to TeleGeography’s Submarine Cable Map, the FA-1 North submarine network connects New York (US) to Skewjack (United Kingdom), while FA-1 South undersea system links New York to Paris (France). GTT Communications operates a global Tier 1 IP network and the addition of 100 Gigabit capability will significantly increase its backbone capacity.

Hutchison Global Communications (HGC) has deployed its MetroLambda-X 100G fibre-optic service to create a backhaul facility linking a submarine cable landing station and a data centre for an unnamed ‘major US-based carrier’. The MetroLambda-X is powered by an advanced Metro wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) platform based on multiple-degree Reconfigurable Optical Add Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) technology. Using a WDM solution, the company’s high-resilience 100G core network supports high transmission speeds and has a latency of less than one millisecond.

The Asia America Gateway (AAG) submarine cable, which connects south-east Asia and the US, has been ruptured again, thus affecting Vietnam’s international broadband connectivity, Vietnam Net reports. The cut was reported in the S1H segment of the cable, roughly 117km from the landing station in Vung Tau, Vietnam. The S1H component of the cable connects Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong. The link is currently undergoing repairs, which may take up to four weeks to complete. The 20,000km AAG cable system has been repaired three times in the last year – in January, July and September 2014, with the cable’s poor technical design previously cited as a factor in its repeated breaks.

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has reportedly sought a nine-month extension for its ongoing National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) deployment, to December 2016, due to delays in upgrading the infrastucture to Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology, the Economic Times reports. However, the government is said to be reluctant to move the deadline, prompting the DoT to increase the manufacturing capacity of fibre ducts at state-run telecoms factories. TeleGeography notes that the NOFN project aims to connect 250,000 Gram Panchayats (villages/small towns) via 600,000km of fibre optic cabling. The NOFN will also act as the country’s fibre backbone and will provide broadband access to rural regions.

Zimbabwean internet service provider (ISP) PowerTel Communications, a subsidiary of state-owned power utility ZESA Holdings, has switched on a fibre connection to the SEACOM submarine cable system via Botswana, The Herald Business writes. Moreover, the state-backed operator is also reportedly planning to roll out a USD32 million fibre-optic backbone network, which is expected to improve the country’s connectivity. The project is expected to start in 2015 and will require the installation of around 1,850km worth of cable. Landlocked Botswana currently connects to SEACOM via a network deployed by domestic consortium Abari Communications in 2009; the fibre link has cross-border connectivity via South Africa.

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