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

7 Aug 2015

Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) has confirmed that it has completed the deployment of the 6,000km Pacific Caribbean Cable System (PCCS), linking Jacksonville, Florida (US) to Manta, in Ecuador. The PCCS, which has a design capacity of 80Tbps, has landing stations in the US, Panama, Colombia, Aruba, Panama, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Ecuador. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the PCCS cable consortium – including Telconet, Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), Setar of Aruba, Telefonica Global Solutions and United Telecommunication Services (UTS) of Curacao – signed a turnkey contract with Alcatel-Lucent to deploy the 100Gbps-per-wavelenth submarine system back in December 2012.

Huawei Marine Networks has commenced the construction of the Nigeria-Cameroon Submarine Cable System (NCSCS), which will link Kribi in Cameroon to Lagos (Nigeria). Spanning approximately 1,100km, the Cameroonian government’s wholly-owned cable will have a design capacity of 12.8Tbps; the system is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) by the end of 2015. Utilising Huawei Marine’s Wavelength Division Multiplex (WDM) and Optical Transport Network (OTN) technologies, the NCSCS also incorporates the world’s first titanium-cased six-fibre pair repeater. The slim-line titanium casing supports enhanced burial capability via a simultaneous deployment and burial beneath the seabed, which reduces both marine installation costs and associated system risks.

Edgardo R Celorico, director of Region IX at the Philippines’ National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), has disclosed that the proposed fibre-optic submarine network, dubbed Best Cable System, will land in the municipality of Parang in the Maguindanao province, located on Mindanao – the second largest and southernmost major island in the Philippines. According to Minda News the deployment of the undersea cable, which is expected to cost around USD150 million, will be implemented by regional telco EA Trilink. Construction work on the Best Cable System will commence in mid-August 2015, with the cable scheduled to be RFS in 2017. The proposed submarine link is part of the BIMP-EAGA Submarine Cable initiative, which aims to connect Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Guam, with potential links to Palau and Yap (in the Federated States of Micronesia). The terrestrial section of the programme – linking Brunei to Malaysia – has already been constructed.

MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa has disclosed that construction work on South Africa’s branch to the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) undersea cable is set to begin in Q1 2016, following MTN Group’s decision to join the Orange Group-led ACE consortium. TechCentral writes that the South African company is planning to commit USD50 million to the cable project. The 17,000km ACE cable currently serves 18 countries, with landing stations in France, Portugal, the Canary Islands, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe. Two landlocked countries, Mali and Niger, are connected via a terrestrial extension. By the end of the second phase of the construction process, the ACE cable will also be extended to Cameroon (which recently signed an agreement that formalises its entry into the ACE consortium), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Angola and Namibia.

As many as 27 telecoms and IT companies will be taking part in the tender for the construction, operation and maintenance of the government-backed Palapa Ring II fibre-optic cable project, worth USD246.74 million. Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information has disclosed that Telekomunikasi Indonesia, Indosat, XL Axiata, NTT Indonesia (a unit of Japan’s NTT) and Cyber Network Indonesia have all registered to bid in the forthcoming auction. The Palapa Ring II infrastructure project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018, will comprise the deployment of 8,395km of undersea fibre-optic cables across the archipelago’s 33 provinces and 460 cities and districts. The first stage of the infrastructure project will involve the construction of 1,823km of cabling across eleven regencies/cities in the western part of Indonesia, at an estimated cost of USD56.63 million. The second stage, meanwhile, will cover 40 regencies/cities with 6,572km of fibre-optics to be deployed for an estimated cost of USD181.11 million. The project expands on the Palapa Ring I network (completed in 2009), which was carried out by Telekomunikasi Indonesia alone, after Indosat, XL Axiata, Bakrie Telecom, Macca System Infocom, Infokom Elektrindo and Powertek Utama Internusa resigned from the consortium. As with the first project, the government will not provide any subsidies for Palapa Ring II, but will allow the winner of the bid to form a consortium.

An unnamed submarine fibre-optic cable, which was damaged on 24 July 2015 by the eruption of the Kick ’em Jenny (KeJ) volcano located eight miles off the coast of Grenada, has been repaired, Trinidad Express reports. According to Graeme Suite, senior manager at Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT), there were no specific physical indicators as to what instigated the rupture: ‘It was not stated what specifically caused the damage – ocean floor movement, rocks or extreme heat, so I cannot speculate.’ Suite said the cable contained several individual strands of fibre, though only some of them were broken. The cable repairs began on 31 July and were completed on 4 August. TeleGeography notes that two submarine cable networks – Eastern Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS) and Southern Caribbean Fiber – are located in close proximity to the active undersea volcano.

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