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

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11 Sep 2015

Construction work on the proposed fibre-optic link from Eldoret (Kenya) to Juba (South Sudan) has commenced, All Africa reports. Kenya’s side of the fibre-optic project is estimated to cost around USD25.5 million, while South Sudan’s share will be USD15.0 million. The World Bank-funded project is set to run concurrently with the construction of the proposed Northern Corridor highway infrastructure development. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Kenya’s ICT minister, Fred Matiang’i, and his South Sudanese counterpart, Rebecca Joshua Okwaci, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the deployment of the fibre-optic link in January 2015. Mr Matiang’i said: ‘Kenya will be responsible for the laying of 600km of cable from Eldoret to the border, while the government of South Sudan will lay it from the border to Juba and [on] to other parts of the country.’ Part of the project will also form the second phase of Kenya’s National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) plan, which is ultimately expected to extend 2,100km and link all 47 of Kenya’s county headquarters.

Cambodian internet service provider (ISP) Ezecom has confirmed that its planned submarine cable – which will link Cambodia to Thailand and Malaysia – has taken another step forward, noting that the contracts among the developers came into force this week. Besides Ezecom’s wholly owned Telcotech subsidiary, the consortium also includes Thailand’s Symphony Communications and Telekom Malaysia. Ezecom CEO Paul Blanche-Horgan commented: ‘Now that the contracts have come into force we are very excited to get working on constructing the cable, laying it under the Gulf of Thailand and bringing it ashore at the landing station in Sihanoukville’. The intra-regional submarine cable system will span approximately 1,300km and will offer further access to Laos and Myanmar via terrestrial links. The project is set to be complete by the end of 2016.

A fibre-optic cable between Dania Beach (South Florida) and the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, in southeast Cuba, is expected to be ready for service (RFS) in February 2016, the Miami Herald writes. The project is designed to upgrade communications services at the remote naval base, which currently supports around 6,000 residents, 2,200 military personnel and over 150 prisoners. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in May 2014 the US Department of Defence awarded Texas-based Xtera Communications a USD31 million contract to build the submarine cable; a total of eight companies bid for the contract, work on which is now expected to be completed by December 2015. The company subsequently won another contract – worth USD3.7 million – for the construction of the ground stations at Dania beach and Guantanamo (to be finalised in January 2016).

Meanwhile, Xtera Communications has announced that it has completed the loading of an unnamed second repeatered submarine cable system, set to be deployed within the next two months in the Atlantic Ocean. The project is due to go live after the successful June 2015 upgrade of the High Capacity, Undersea Guernsey Optical-Fibre (HUGO) submarine system, which connects Porthcurno (UK), Guernsey (UK) and Lannion (France). The insertion extended the lifetime and capacity of the HUGO subsea cable, which is itself a re-deployment of parts of the decommissioned Gemini system.

Nexans has been awarded a contract to supply Huawei Marine with 1,100km of Repeatered Optical Cables (ROC-2) for the Nigeria-Cameroon Submarine Cable System (NCSCS). Spanning approximately 1,100km, the Cameroonian government’s wholly-owned cable – which is scheduled to be RFS by the end of 2015 – will have a design capacity of 12.8Tbps, with branching units for future connections to Escravos and Qua Iboe in Nigeria’s south-east region. Delivery of the cables started in the spring 2015, with the project set to be completed later this year. ‘Nexans has met the needs of our project by not only producing high quality repeatered cable, but also providing dedicated support in the complex process of integrating the repeaters into the cable. The delivery of these cables is a key milestone in the NCSCS project’, Huawei Marine’s project director Kevin Zhang disclosed.

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