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

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13 Mar 2015

Huawei Marine Networks has been awarded a contract by the government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea to build the Ceiba-2 Submarine Cable System, which is expected to be ready for service (RFS) in Q4 2015. Utilising Huawei Marine’s Wavelength Division Multiplex (WDM) and Optical Transport Network (OTN) technologies, the 290km cable, with an initial design capacity of 4Tbps, will connect capital city Malabo, on the northern coast of Bioko island, to Bata on the mainland, with a branching unit towards Kribi (Cameroon). Once completed, the link via Kribi will enable Equatorial Guinea to connect to other submarine cable systems including WACS, SAT-3 and Main One. It will also provide redundancy for existing traffic on Ceiba-1, the direct link between Malabo and Bata, and the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable branch to Bata.

The West Africa Cable System (WACS) consortium, comprising telecoms operators from 17 countries, is preparing to upgrade the WACS submarine fibre-optic system to 100Gbps technology from its initial 10Gbps configuration, following the recent selection of an additional equipment vendor – Huawei Marine Networks – to integrate its solutions with those of existing WACS contractor Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN). The USD24.5 million upgrade of the cable stretching from southern Africa to Europe will be implemented in two phases, with the first stage scheduled to be finished in June 2015, while the second phase is expected to be completed by September-October 2015. This year’s project ‘will increase the capacity of the upgrading parties from 11% to 45% of their total WACS capacity entitlement of the WACS system design capacity’, according to a press release from consortium member Telecom Namibia, which adds that subsequent upgrade phases will be implemented ‘depending on the future bandwidth demand.’ The Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA) reports that a five-day event (9-13 March) hosted by Telecom Namibia enabled international stakeholders to discuss the detailed work plan of the project, with speakers including WACS upgrade group chairperson Daniel Welt of Tata Communications, who confirmed that WACS infrastructure deployed by ASN will continue to be used in conjunction with that supplied by Huawei.

Seaborn Networks has acquired backhaul and metropolitan fibre network capacity in the State of Sao Paulo from Netell Telecom and Citatel Dutos e Fibras Opticas for Seaborn’s Seabras-1 cable, the first direct subsea fibre-optic link between New York (US) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The contracted capacity provides a diverse, dark fibre backhaul solution from Seaborn’s cable landing station in Santos, as well as a dark fibre mesh network solution to Seaborn’s points of presence (PoPs) in Sao Paulo. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, the six fibre-pair subsea system, which is being constructed by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN), will extend 10,400km, with a maximum upgradeable capacity of 64Tbps. Further, Netell Telecom has purchased a ‘substantial amount’ of capacity on Seabras-1, which it will use to serve its local, regional and international carrier and enterprise customer base. Seabras-1 is expected to be completed in 2016.

A new fibre-optic submarine cable is set to be deployed in the Upper Lynn Canal (ULC) region in Southeast Alaska by Alaska Power & Telephone (AP&T) in 2015, theFort Mill Times reports. The planned 86 mile fibre-optic route, which will link Juneau to Haines and Skagway, will complement AP&T’s 300 mile terrestrial Southeast Alaska Microwave Network, thus ‘exponentially’ expanding AP&T’s bandwidth capacity. While the project is still understood to be in its planning stage, a bathymetric survey (the submerged equivalent of an above-water topographic map) of the submarine route is scheduled to be completed in the spring.

Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), which operates a global system of subsea cables, MPLS/IP networks, data centres and PoPs, has signed an agreement to join the *UAE-IX, a carrier-neutral internet traffic exchange point in Dubai. Chris Bayly, SVP of Middle East & Africa (MEA) at GCX said: ‘By joining UAE-IX, we can further expand and interconnect with other networks in the Middle East, to leverage our capabilities and provide high-performance, low-latency connectivity across the ‘Emerging Markets Corridor’ spanning across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.’

In a bid to extend network virtualisation into the optical layer, integrated network and technology solutions provider Pacnet has deployed *Infinera*’s new Open Transport Switch (OTS) software within its Software-defined Networking (SDN) platform, Pacnet Enabled Network (PEN). The capability allows Pacnet to provide on-demand provisioning of network services up to 100Gbps, including Network Function Virtualization (NFV) tools on the company’s privately owned trans-Pacific and intra-Asia submarine network systems. TeleGeography notes that Pacnet 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 PoPs globally.

Epsilon has supplied an outsourced networking solution to submarine cable operator Farice, which will enable customers from 170 countries to connect, via Farice’s submarine cable infrastructure, to Verne Global’s carbon neutral data centre campus, located in Iceland. With established PoPs in London and Frankfurt, the partnership between Epsilon and Farice leverages Epsilon’s more than 500 carrier relationships globally. Epsilon’s CEO Andreas Hipp commented: ‘Data centre facilities in Iceland are ideally located given their low-cost and sustainable power supply, as well as geographic proximity to both North America and Europe. The challenge is to efficiently connect these facilities to the rest of the world.’

Italian broadband operator FastWeb has signed an agreement with MENA Submarine Cable System (MENA SCS) to implement a ‘protected backhauling capacity connection’ running along the entire Italian peninsula, from Mazara del Vallo in Sicily to the Caldera business park in Milan. The agreement with FastWeb will allow MENA SCS to carry traffic coming from the Far East, India, the Middle East and Egypt to the neutral hub in Milan, before being distributed to the main European internet exchanges. MENA, a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT), owns five fibre pairs on the 8,800km MENA Cable, which lands in Italy, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt and India.

NBN Co, the company overseeing the construction of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), is deploying a high capacity fibre-optic ring utilising *Coriant*’s hiT 7300 Multi-Haul Transport Platform. Spanning over 10,000km in Western Australia, the fibre ring will enable NBN Co to expand the capacity of its backbone network and enhance the delivery of fast broadband services to businesses and consumers in the region. The new fibre-optic ring represents a significant extension to NBN Co’s transcontinental optical transport backbone, that is built on 60,000km of fibre configured in more than 100 fibre rings nationwide.

Level 3 Communications has been selected by Iraqi solutions provider EarthLink Telecommunications to provide its MPLS/IP VPN services to EarthLink’s wholesale and enterprise customers in the Middle East. Following the deal, EarthLink notes that it has signed a new contract with ‘one of the region’s major oil and gas companies’.

Nova Scotia-headquartered Eastlink, and its subsidiary Persona Communications, have filed a claim in Canada’s Federal Court against a Newfoundland fishing vessel, accusing it of damaging its submarine cable Persona. The undersea system, which connects New Victoria (New Scotia) to Rose Blanche (Newfoundland) was damaged on 17 July 2014, leaving Eastlink with a repair bill amounting to USD1 million. Eastlink spokeswoman Jill Laing said: ‘There was damage to our fibre, which has resulted in significant repair costs … We are taking the appropriate steps to recover those costs.’

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