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

4 Sep 2015

Japanese equipment vendor NEC Corporation has been contracted by Telekom Malaysia and TIME dotCom (TdC) to construct a new submarine cable, tentatively named Sistem Kabel Rakyat 1Malaysia (SKR1M). The submarine cable project, which was awarded to TM by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) via a public-private partnership agreement in 2014, aims ‘to improve the quality of the internet connection in East Malaysia’. The new 3,500km cable system – designed to have an initial capacity of 4Tbps – will land in Mersing, Kuching, Bintulu, Miri, Kota Kinabalu and Cherating; the cable is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) by 2017.

Guam-based DOCOMO Pacific has received approval from its parent company, NTT DOCOMO of Japan, to lay an undersea cable linking the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to Guam, according to the Pacific Daily News. The company has revealed that it will now start to undertake landing site surveys, select consultants and vendors, and initiate the federal and local permitting process, while also considering various financing options, including possible partners and investors. TeleGeography notes that the CNMI is currently served by a sole fibre-optic link – the USD14 million Mariana-Guam Cable – which stretches 240km between Guam, Rota, Tinian and Saipan, after replacing an overloaded inter-island microwave system in 1997. The link experienced a fault in July 2015 as ‘a result of the recent passing of Typhoon Chan-Hom through the Mariana Islands’ but was repaired shortly after.

Huawei Marine, a global submarine network provider, has completed the marine installation of the Nigeria-Cameroon Submarine Cable System (NCSCS) thus bringing the system – which will link Kribi in Cameroon to Lagos (Nigeria) – closer to commercial launch. Spanning approximately 1,100km, the Cameroonian government’s wholly-owned cable will have a design capacity of 12.8Tbps, with branching units for future connections to Escravos and Qua Iboe in Nigeria’s Southeast region. 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. The system is scheduled to be RFS by the end of 2015.

Elsewhere, Cameroon’s Ministry of Posts and Telecoms has shortlisted two firms to undertake a technical study for the construction of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) cable landing station in Kribi, Agence Ecofin reports. Cameroon’s Batratel and SFM Technologies/ECR of Tunisia are now expected to submit their bids for the contract by 24 September 2015. The ACE system will be the third cable to land on Cameroonian shores – the country is already connected to the SAT3 and WACS cables – after Orange Cameroun signed an agreement with the government for the operation of the link. 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.

The Sunshine Coast Council has submitted a bid to bring a new submarine fibre-optic link to Australia’s east coast, with the application now being examined by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The Sydney Morning Herald writes that it would cost around USD200 million to construct the proposed undersea network, which will be a spur from a line already connecting Sydney to Guam. TeleGeography notes that two submarine cables – the PIPE Pacific Cable-1 (PPC-1) and the Australia-Japan Cable (AJC) – currently connect Sydney (Australia) to Guam.

Epsilon Telecommunications has rolled out new fibre infrastructure to connect five additional data centres in Singapore, including Global Switch, Equinix, Keppel Digi Hub, 1-Net and Digital Realty. Epsilon’s network is a carrier-grade next generation terabit optical global backbone, which links to over 65 Points of Presence (PoP) globally, and connects more than 500 network operators and service providers.

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