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

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30 Jan 2015

The Brazilian authorities are reportedly studying an ambitious plan to deploy a 7,784km underwater fibre network in the Amazon basin. According to BNAmericas, the ‘Conexao Norte’ (Northern Connection) scheme has been developed by Brazilian fibre-optic systems manufacturer Padtec, in conjunction with national research network Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa (RNP), state-controlled telco Telebras and state-run power firm Eletrobras, with help from the army’s ICT department. A 12km pilot project will commence in Amazonas state capital Manaus in March, according to proposal documents. Ultimately, the network will encompass six optical fibre routes, making use of the Amazon basin’s riverbeds.

Kenya’s ICT minister, Fred Matiang’I, and his South Sudanese counterpart, Rebecca Joshua Okwaci, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will see the construction of a fibre-optic link from Eldoret (Kenya) to Juba (South Sudan), AllAfrica reports. Mr Matiang’i said: ‘Kenya will be responsible for the laying of 600km of cable from Eldoret to the border, while the government of South Sudan will lay it from the border to Juba and [on] to other parts of the country.’ The official added that part of the project will form the second phase of Kenya’s National Fibre Optic Backbone Infrastructure plan, which is expected to extend 2,100km and link all 47 of Kenya’s county headquarters. The World Bank-funded project is set to run concurrently with the construction of the proposed Northern Corridor highway infrastructure development.

Allied Fiber has announced a 20-year agreement with Telefonica Global Solutions to provide dark fibre in the US, as well as neutral colocation and interconnection services which will strengthen Telefonica’s international infrastructures in country. Allied Fiber will provide Telefonica with dedicated access and use of its own physical network infrastructure within the Allied Fiber system, enabling greater control of service provisioning, network scalability and costs. The Allied Fiber south-east segment covers more than 360 miles throughout the state of Florida and was built specifically to serve network operators of all types including, national, regional and metro carriers, as well as submarine cable networks.

South Africa-based independent data-centre operator Teraco Data Environments has increased its medium-term borrowing facility to ZAR400 million (USD34.67 million), with additional funding secured from Barclays Africa, TechCentral reports. Teraco chief financial officer Jan Hnizdo said: ‘This facility, together with internally generated funds, is earmarked for continuing our large-scale investments into data-centre infrastructure rollouts.’ Teraco is planning to build a second data-centre in Johannesburg to complement its existing site in Isando; construction of the new 4,000 square metre facility will commence in 2015. TeleGeography notes that Teraco, which operates three data-centres in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, is currently subject to a takeover offer from international private equity firm Permira. The acquisition still awaits regulatory approval and is expected to be finalised in Q1 2015.

Seaborn Networks (Seaborn) and French bank Natixis have announced the closing of debt financing relating to the construction of Seabras-1, the first direct subsea fibre-optic cable between New York (US) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). Natixis acted as sole structuring bank, underwriter and mandated lead arranger for the senior debt facilities. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, earlier this month private investment fund Partners Group signed an agreement to provide all of the equity funding needed for the construction Seabras-1, which is estimated to cost approximately USD500 million. When completed in 2016, the six fibre-pair subsea system will extend 10,400km, with a maximum upgradeable capacity of 64Tbps.

The Asia America Gateway (AAG) undersea cable, which connects south-east Asia and the United States, was fixed on 23 January 2015, following 17 days of repairs. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in early January, a fracture was reported in the S1H segment of the AAG cable, roughly 117km from the landing station in Vung Tau, Vietnam. The S1H component of the cable connects Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong. 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.

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