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

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2 Oct 2015

The Samoan government has launched a USD49 million project to deploy a 1,300km submarine cable between Samoa and Fiji, which will be operated by newly established, locally-owned Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC), Radio New Zealand reports. The SSCC is private partnership between Samoan telecoms operators Bluesky and Digicel and Computer Services Limited and a number of Samoan financial investors, including the National Provident Fund, the Unit Trust and the Life Assurance Corporation. ICT minister Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau was cited as saying: ‘SSCC will strengthen Samoa’s communication links to the world. The cable will span 1,300km and link Samoa’s largest islands of Upolu and Savai’i to the Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) in Suva, Fiji.’ The project – which is also backed by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – is reportedly scheduled to be completed within 18 months. TeleGeography notes that Samoa is currently connected to a sole submarine fibre-optic cable – the Samoa-American-Samoa (SAS) – which links the Pacific nation to American Samoa and Hawaii.

US-based data centre operator Equinix is to support the deployment of the proposed non-common carrier fibre-optic submarine cable – dubbed FASTER – which will connect the west coast of the US to major Asian cities including Chikura and Shima in Japan and Tanshui (Taiwan). As such, the cable will be backhauled in to four of Equinix’s International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres on the West Coast (including Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Seattle). FASTER will consist of six fibre-optic pairs with an initial design capacity of 60Tbps on the principal portion (Segments 1-4), while Segments 5 and 6 will consist of two fibre pairs with 20Tbps initial design capacity.

Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) has been awarded a contract for the construction of the Sonangol Offshore Optical Cable (SOOC) in Angola. Spanning 1,900km, the SOOC undersea network will land at four locations along the Angolan coast and will allow the country’s oil and gas industry to benefit from increased data bandwidth. In addition, a high-speed connection will be established between the capital Luanda and the Cabinda province to ‘fulfill national telecoms needs’. Yohann Benard, Oil & Gas General Manager of ASN, said: ‘After connecting Angola to the global network through several undersea cables, ASN is pleased to further contribute to the development of the Angolan fibre-optic infrastructure.’ The development phase of the project is currently underway, with construction work scheduled to start in the second half of 2016.

NEC of Japan has partnered with intelligent transport network provider Infinera for a project to expand the fibre-optic transmission networks belonging to Telefonica International Wholesale Services (TIWS) – the international infrastructure arm of Spain’s Telefonica Group – in Latin America. It is understood that the vendors are aiming to increase the capacity of the DWDM networks by deploying supper-channel technology capable of supporting 500Gbps. The project, which is already underway, is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015. TIWS manages the group’s international fibre-optic network, with direct connectivity between Latin America, the US, Europe and Asia. It owns and operates the 20,000km SAm-1 submarine cable, which covers the South American region, and also holds a stake in the Pacific Caribbean Cable System (PCCS), which recently activated a 6,000km submarine network between the US and Ecuador.

Hanoi Telecom Corporation – via its local partner Nissho Electronics Vietnam – has selected Infinera to deploy its TM-Series platform as part a metropolitan network which will connect Ho Chi Minh City (commonly known as Saigon) and the port city of Vung Tau. The Infinera TM-Series packet- optical platform is well-suited for mobile fronthaul and backhaul, and metro aggregation applications.

Botswana’s national telecoms infrastructure company Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) has announced the completion of a 325km fibre-optic route from Sehithwa in the northwestern part of the country to Mohembo, located on the border with Namibia. The deployment comes hot on the heels of the conclusion of similar rollouts in August 2015, which saw 360km of fibre laid from Sekoma to Tsabong, in addition to a 362km route between Maun and Ngoma. TeleGeography noted in October 2014 that BoFiNet awarded contracts to unnamed vendors to extend its fibre-optic network by 1,000km along five separate routes: Sekoma-Tsabong, Sehithwa-Mohembo, Maun-Ngoma, the Kasane-Kazungula loop and the Maun local loop. The operator has also revealed plans to deploy fibre across nine other routes in 2015-16, thus lengthening its national fibre backbone by a further 1,000km.

Ooredoo Oman has announced the completion of its national fibre-optic backbone, which spans almost 5,500km, and will provide reliable high speed connectivity to residential and businesses customers across the Sultanate. The company says it is able to offer a robust, cost-effective data highway, which connects all regions of Oman and complements its international submarine fibre-optic links and the ‘Superfast Fibre’ fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service, as well as its range of solutions for connecting businesses.

Australian infrastructure company Superloop Limited has launched its dark fibre network in Singapore, offering customers access to Global Switch, Equinix SG1, SG2, SG3 and Digital Realty (Jurong) data centres, in addition to the Katong and Tuas cable landing stations over a fully diverse network, the Brisbane Times reports. Further, Superloop’s Sydney-based network is now in the operational phase of its rollout, with all key sites connected, and services handed over to cornerstone customers. The company expects to have all diverse paths to sites on the Sydney network completed and operational by the end of this month.

Germany’s DE-CIX has launched its internet exchange point (IXP) in Istanbul (Turkey) which will be operated by its wholly-owned subsidiary DE-CIX Istanbul Network Connections. The new IXP is located in the MedNautilus building – a multi-tenant and carrier-neutral facility – which serves as a landing station for the MedNautilus subsea cable backbone in the Mediterranean basin. In addition, DE-CIX International has confirmed that it has acquired the Istanbul Internet Exchange (IST-IX), which was founded by Terremark. Following the completion of the deal, the IST-IX will be upgraded to the Apollon platform, DE-CIX’s 100GE-enabled exchange.

USA Fiber is planning to build a dark fibre network serving an array of enterprise and wholesale customers in Northern Virginia (US), Fierce Telecom reports. The northern Virginia ring of the network will consist of a seven-mile underground data centre ring consisting of 864-count fibre, which will enable connectivity to 35 data centres.

Finally, Japan-based NTT Communications Corporation, the international unit of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), has revealed that the capacity of the Japan-US channel of its Tier-1 Global IP Network had exceeded 1Tbps in September 2015.

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