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

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10 Apr 2015

The Government of Tasmania has hired WorleyParsons’ global advisory arm Advisian to assess whether or not the state should connect to *SubPartners*’ international submarine cable project*APX-Central*, which aims to link Perth and Sydney from Q3 2016. The consultancy firm will provide technical and commercial advice on SubPartners USD20 million offer for the state to tap into the APX-Central section of its global cable. SubPartners is currently in the process of deploying the APX-Central, APX-West and APX-East fibre-optic submarine cables. The 5,300km APX-Central cable will connect Perth and Sydney with additional spurs planned for Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart, while the 4,700km APX-West cable will link Perth to Changi North in Singapore, with planned branches to Jakarta (Indonesia) and Christmas Island (a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean). The two cables, which are scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in 3Q16, have an initial design capacity of 32TBps over four pairs of fibre-optic strands and will land at NextDC’s Perth P1 data centre. Meanwhile, APX-East, which is likely to be RFS in the fourth quarter of 2017, will cover 12,500km between Sydney and Hermosa Beach in California, with branch connections to Auckland and Oauhu (Hawaii) as well as some of the Pacific islands. TeleGeography notes that the island state of Tasmania has three existing fibre connections to the mainland through Telstra-owned Bass Strait-1 and Bass Strait-2 and Basslink Telecom’s Basslink. The state has been studying options for a fourth connection since 2011, but ruled out a second Basslink-style cable due to cost considerations. SubPartners reportedly warned the Tasmanian government in 2014 that it would likely incur higher connection costs the longer it took to make a decision.

Telefonica Chile will reportedly utilise the South America-1 (SAm-1) submarine cable, which was previously reserved for international connectivity, for domestic traffic on a permanent basis, due to the damage to its fibre-optic cables in the Atacama and Antofagasta regions caused by floods, domestic news source Diario Financiero writes. The 25,000km SAm-1 link has two landing points in Chile, namely Arica and Valparaiso. Claudio Lopez, operations manager at Telefonica Chile, disclosed that the company had been studying the option of using SAm-1 for domestic traffic for a while, although plans to put the proposal into action by the end of 2015 had to be moved forward due to the floods. The company is also said to be seeking an alliance with other operators, including Entel and Claro, for critical network support in the southern part of the country.

The National Broadband Council of Nigeria has approved the establishment of new submarine cable landing points in four coastal states – Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and Ondo – in a bid to ensure widespread penetration of high capacity bandwidth throughout the country, All Africa reports. Dr Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communications Technology, was cited as saying that additional landing points in the country would make it faster and cheaper to lay terrestrial cable from these points to other parts of the country and reduce vulnerability and risks associated with a single point of failure in the system. The project is expected to be financed by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF). TeleGeography notes that Lagos currently houses all international submarine cables landing on Nigerian shores – SAT-3/WASC, Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), Main One and GLO-1.

International infrastructure provider Zayo Group is planning to extend its long haul dark fibre network between Phoenix and Dallas, with the network expansion set to add 1,200 route miles to Zayo’s owned long haul network, which currently spans more than 16,000 route miles across the United States and Europe. The project, which is driven by an unnamed anchor tenant on the route, is currently under construction and is expected to be in operation by the fourth quarter of 2016. The route will provide direct connectivity from California’s Bay Area to Dallas, and expand service between markets such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson (Arizona), southern New Mexico, El Paso (Texas), Dallas and Denver. The link will also enable two new potential routes from the southwest to Chicago.

Kenya’s Auditor-General has questioned the economic viability of the government-owned National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI), following an audit which revealed that more than KES12.5 billion (USD134.8 million) had been used to finance the project by end-2014, The Daily Nation reports. Over KES2 billion was paid in contractors’ advance fees, management fees, commitment costs and operations and maintenance costs to Telkom Kenya. Auditor-General Edward Ouko was cited as saying: ‘[The] NOFBI project is not generating sufficient revenue to maintain its own operating costs; taxpayers are also being subjected to repaying the concessional loans from China to finance the project, totalling over USD110 million (USD37 million for Phase I and USD72.5 million for Phase II) plus additional loan management fees.’ The official also accused the ICT ministry of having failed to create awareness about the existence of the network, which led to insufficient use of its extra capacity.

DE-CIX has announced that it will establish a new internet exchange in the Interxion data centre in Marseille (France), which will be RFS in Q3 2015. Harald Summa, president of DE-CIX, said: ‘In Marseille, we are creating a new neutral internet hub to improve the interconnection of African eyeball networks to regional and global content players … Marseille offers strong legal and regulatory infrastructure for this new exchange, an environment we know well and have successfully done business in for a long time.’

Alcatel-Lucent’s CEO Michel Combes has revealed that a new West African hub for network and data management will be established in Dakar, Senegal. According to BizTech Africa, the company will build the networks management supervision centre in the Diamniadio area of the city. Combes was cited as saying that Senegal could be used as a gateway to expand into West and Central Africa due to its high rates of data consumption.

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