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

24 Jul 2015

Queensland, Australia’s Sunshine Coast could soon benefit from a direct undersea internet cable connection, with the announcement that the Sunshine Coast Council has applied to the Australian Communications and Media Authority to establish an offshore cable protection zone that would enable the private sector to land an international submarine network there. If realised, the Sunshine Coast would be the only regional centre in Australia able to offer direct international broadband connectivity to global markets, a spokesman behind the proposal said. Australia currently has links to a number of international cable systems, landing at: Sydney (Australia-Papua New Guinea-2 [APNG-2], Gondwana-1, PIPE Pacific Cable-1 [PPC-1]); near Sydney at Alexandria (Southern Cross Cable Network [SCCN]), Oxford Falls (Australia-Japan Cable [AJC]) and Paddington (Tasman-2 and Telstra Endeavour); and Perth (SEA-ME-WE-3), that together carry the vast majority of the nation’s internet data traffic. Landing a cable on the Sunshine Coast would be the closest direct digital connection point between Australia and leading markets in Asia and the United States, providing improved data speeds and bandwidth for sectors such as banking and finance, digital solutions developers and any business that is heavily dependent on online transactions.

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) has extended its internet services in the Maldives via a joint venture submarine cable system with the Maldivian incumbent Dhiraagu, as part of efforts to support the country’s bid to improve its global internet connectivity, The Nation reports. Dhiraagu teamed up with SLT and SLTNet in 2006 upon completion of the Dhiraagu – SLT optical fibre submarine cable system between the two countries, connecting Male to Colombo, enabling onward cable connectivity across Asia and Europe via Sri Lanka. Dileepa Wijesundera, group CEO of the Sri Lankan telco said, ‘Sri Lanka’s geographical location makes it a natural nexus for communications in the Indian Ocean basin, ensuring that the country plays a key role in the process of unfolding new technologies across the region. This brings gigantic capacity to users in Sri Lanka and in the region, with access to future data demands.’

Intelligent transport networks provider Infinera has announced that global interconnection and data centre company Equinix has selected the ‘Infinera Cloud Xpress’ platform to provide interconnectivity for its Hong Kong data centre facility. The latter picked Infinera’s solution it said, to cater for the rising demand for high capacity customer interconnectivity between Equinix facilities in the same metro area, which it notes will allow its customers ‘to efficiently grow and extend their ecosystems beyond the confines of a single building’. Cloud Xpress, which launched in 2014 to provide a cloud-optimised dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) solution to cloud service providers, internet content providers, and IX service providers, leverages photonic integrated circuit technology to support up to 1Tbps of input and output capacity in just two rack units, the release said.

Lightwave reports that Brazilian fibre-optic systems manufacturer Padtec has entered into a partnership agreement with US-based, carrier-neutral dark fibre and colocation services provider Allied Fiber to enable it to demonstrate the capabilities of its LightPad i6400G DWDM system on Allied Fiber’s southeast route. Under the tie-up the Brazilian firm has installed equipment on a 356-mile dark fibre pair, linking Jacksonville and Miami with 100Gbps of optical transmission capacity.

Telx, a provider of global interconnectivity, data centre solutions and cloud enablement services, has launched support for the upcoming FASTER submarine cable system which will connect the west coast of the US to major Asian cities including Chikura and Shima in Japan. The 60Tbps FASTER cable will land in Oregon and will be accessible via a PoP in Telx’s PRT1 data centre (‘a carrier neutral hub for transpacific and terrestrial cable systems in the Pacific Northwest’).

Network-edge hosting solutions firm EdgeConneX this week announced the signing of a partnership with the Midwest Internet Cooperative Exchange (MICE) to build a new remote MICE node into its Minneapolis-based Edge Data Center (EDC), available in the fourth quarter of 2015. The expansion will improve connectivity, performance and content delivery and lead to lower costs, the pair say, and will enable EDC customers to have direct access to MICE’s bilateral and multilateral peering services as well as direct content services provided by leading CDN and content providers.

Global Capacity has lit its metropolitan fibre ring in the Washington, DC area, which it notes forms part of its ongoing network rollout strategy to bring high speed internet and a comprehensive suite of cost-effective, scalable data connectivity services to more than 9.6 million commercial sites in the market. Global Capacity, which describes itself as a leading connectivity-as-a-service company, confirmed in a press release that its 54-mile diversely routed fibre ring will interconnect the company’s points of presence (PoP) located within the Level 3, McLean, VA facility and the Equinix Ashburn, VA data centres, offering speeds scaling from 1Mbps to 10Gbps.

A financial ‘scandal’ over the as yet unbuilt fibre-optic cable project in Guinea has drawn the attention of the World Bank, local news site Aminata.com reports. Concerns are being voiced over the failure of two broadband rehabilitation projects led by the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and New Information Technologies (MTNTI). To date, the work has not been completed despite local operators having contributed more than USD1 million to the rehab plan. TeleGeography notes that in December 2012 Guinea’s telecoms minister, Oye Guilavogui, secured a USD350 million loan from the Chinese government for the construction of a 4,000km national fibre-optic backbone project. The contract for the rollout of the fibre was won by China’s Huawei following an international tender, with the vendor having entered the lowest bid of USD238 million. Guineenne de la Large Bande SA (GUILAB) was commissioned with the operation of the cabling system; the company’s main responsibilities include the establishment, operation and maintenance of telecommunications infrastructure in Guinea; the landing station; and the connection to the submarine fibre-optic cable. In March 2013 the MTNTI announced that GUILAB would also manage the participation of Guinea in the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) consortium, taking over the financial obligations of incumbent operator Sotelgui. Further, GUILAB was authorised to monitor the build-out of the fibre-optic infrastructure and validate the capacity allocated to each operator.

IT&E has provided an update on efforts to fix a fault on the Mariana-Guam Cable, noting that an undersea cable repair ship departed Taiwan on 16 July as scheduled, en route to Saipan, with a slightly delayed arrival date of 23 July 2015 due to rough seas. Earlier this month, Pacific Telecom, the parent company of IT&E, reported a fault in the Mariana-Guam Cable, saying that whilst it had not identified the exact cause of the cable cut, ‘indications are that this failure is a result of the recent passing of Typhoon Chan-Hom through the Mariana Islands’. The USD14 million fibre-optic cable, which stretches 240km between Guam, Rota, Tinian and Saipan, replaced an overloaded inter-island microwave system in 1997. While IT&E is attempting to fix the undersea cable, it has partially restored service by reviving the old microwave link and last week installed a temporary link between Saipan and Tinian to improve capacity in the interim.

And finally, Honolulu-headquartered Hawaiian Telcom has announced that capacity sales on its portion of the new South-East Asia-US (SEA-US) cable system are ‘robust’, with total sales now approaching USD30 million, adding that along with along with its consortium partners – which include PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International, Globe Telecom, RAM Telecom International, Teleguam Holdings, GTI Corporation (part of Globe Telecom) and Telkom USA – it has begun construction on the landmark fibre network linking Indonesia, Philippines, Guam, Hawaii and California. Hawaiian Telcom, a leading provider of integrated communications, broadband, data centre and entertainment solutions for business and residential customers, noted in a press release that internet traffic is increasing sharply due ‘to increased demand from broadband and mobile subscribers for video, applications and other online content’. In its press release, the carrier notes that the Asia-Pacific region is ‘a leading driver of internet traffic growth, which will continue to push trans-Pacific connectivity demand beyond existing capacities’. According to TeleGeography’s recently published Global Bandwidth Forecast Service, trans-Pacific demand is expected to increase at a compounded annual rate of 33% between 2013 and 2020. In response, SEA-US, when completed, will deliver a 100Gbps ultra-long haul system that will provide an initial 20Tbps of capacity over approximately 9,300 miles of fibre. NEC is the system supplier and integrator for SEA-US which is costing approximately USD250 million to build and is scheduled for completion at the end of 2016.

TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Forecast Service provides detailed forecasts of bandwidth demand, supply, prices and revenues. Every quarter, subscribers receive a concise written summary of the market outlook and a comprehensive forecast spreadsheet. For more information please call +1 (202) 741 0020, or visit: www.telegeography.com/research-services/global-bandwidth-forecast-service/index.html.

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