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

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24 Apr 2015

US-based undersea capacity-based network solutions provider AquaComms and its vendor partner TE SubCom have begun construction work on the America-Europe Connect (AEConnect) submarine cable system, which will stretch from the US to Ireland. The 5,400km fibre-optic link, which has design capacity of 130Gbps x 100Gbps per fibre pair, will land in Shirley (New York) and Killala on the West Coast of Ireland, with stubbed branching units for future deployments. It will also interconnect with CeltixConnect – a 131km Irish Sea subsea cable wholly owned by AquaComms’ subsidiary Sea Fibre Networks (SFN) – to provide extended connectivity to London (UK) and continental Europe. The initial cost of the project is estimated at USD300 million, although expenses are expected to rise with the second deployment phase, which will bring the cable to the European mainland. Part of the funding was secured by AquaComms earlier this week, following the inking of a USD125 million debt offering with Nemura International. Greg Varisco, chief operating officer of AquaComms, said: ‘AquaComms’ strategy is to build and operate a diversified, solution-based network, providing peak capacity product offerings and working in partnership with contractors, equipment suppliers, backhaul network providers and customers to support the US’s and Europe’s expanding data requirements. AEConnect is currently being constructed using state-of-the-art technology, with 100G-coherent design for low latency, reliable delivery for even the most bandwidth-hungry applications and direct data centre to data centre connectivity across the Atlantic.’

The Cameroonian government is set to proceed with its plans to land the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable system on its shores in 2015, with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications issuing a call for expressions of interest (EoI) for the construction of a cable landing point in Kribi, situated in the South Region, and a 650km fibre-optic branch to the ACE connecting point. The ministry has invited all interested companies to submit their bids by 15 June 2015. TeleGeography notes that the 17,000km ACE high-speed cable, which connects France to the west coast of Africa and has overall potential capacity of 5.12Tbps, is currently in its second-phase rollout of connectivity to additional countries on Africa’s Atlantic coast. The first launch phase of the system took place in December 2012, and saw the network segment covering 13 countries from Europe to Sao Tome and Principe go live.

In a bid to proceed with its plans to build the first terrestrial fibre-optic link between Singapore and Hong Kong, Malaysian telecoms group Aries Telecom is looking into a potential flotation on the London bourse, The Financial Times reports. The company has appointed Panmure Gordon and Mirabaud Securities to explore its options for an initial public offering (IPO), which could raise around GBP100 million (USD150.5 million). A source familiar with the matter was cited as saying: ‘The company does not have a requirement for cash, but an IPO would allow it to shift from being a local, domestic operator into a regional player with an international investor base’. Further, a London listing could help with discussions to secure contracts and gain regulatory support as Aries seeks to build terrestrial fibre network between Singapore and Hong Kong via Malaysia, Thailand and Laos. The existing Aries Telecom network currently spans peninsular Malaysia, covering all the large cities and towns.

International cable company Liberty Global is rolling out Metro 100G solutions across its existing metro and regional European networks using *Transmode*’s TM-Series platform in a bid to expand its fibre backhaul capacity. Jan Lindgren, Liberty Global’s vice president of Network Engineering, commented: ‘The Metro 100G solution has been deployed in our existing racks with a small footprint and has kept power usage to a minimum. While we continue to securely move critical traffic in high density areas, we have taken this next step to Metro 100G to ensure we are able to support the ever-growing service bandwidth demands from our customers.’

Japan Internet Exchange (JPIX) has deployed *Infinera*’s Cloud Xpress platform to help accommodate bandwidth growth in its metropolitan Tokyo network. The Cloud Xpress provides JPIX with up to 1Tbps of input/output capacity in two rack units, while also simplifying operations with a single fibre to deliver a 500Gbps super-channel of line-side capacity, a highly-reliable photonic integrated circuit, the flexibility of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and 40GbE today, and 100GbE client side interfaces with the Cloud Xpress product family in the future. JPIX CEO Yoshiki Ishida added: ‘The Infinera Cloud Xpress allows us to interconnect all of our sites while only requiring a small amount of space and power. And the platform provides us with operational benefits that massively simplify what it takes to deploy the network.’

Belizean telecoms operators, including Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), SpeedNet, Broadband Belize (BB), and Network Solutions, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create the country’s first local internet exchange point (IXP), Trinidad and Tobago Guardian writes. TeleGeography notes that discussions for the establishment of the Belize Internet Exchange (BIX) started back in June 2013.

Finally, Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies has begun construction work on a 400km fibre-optic network in Sierra Leone, which will link the towns of Lungi, Port Loko, Makeni, Koidu, Ferengbeya, Bumbuna and Kabala. All Africa cited Sierra Leone’s deputy ICT Minister Theo Nicol as saying: ‘This project will reduce the cost of internet services by half. For now, those with computers can connect to the fibre line upon its completion this month.’ Further, the official revealed that the entire country would be covered by fibre-optic networks by 2017.

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