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

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30 Oct 2015

The Algerian government is planning to start construction work on a 560km fibre-optic undersea cable linking Oran in Algeria to Valencia in Spain – dubbed Orval – in November 2015, ICT minister Houda-Imane Feraoun disclosed at a press conference. AllAfrica reports that the project is estimated to cost around EUR36 million (USD39.5 million). As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in May 2015 the Ministry of Posts, IT and Communications (MPTIC) and equipment vendor Alcatel-Lucent signed a turnkey agreement for the construction of the Orval fibre-optic network. The 100Gbps system, which is expected to be ready for service (RFS) by the end of 2016, will deliver an ultimate design capacity of 20Tbps when completed. The move comes hot on the heels of the announcement that the 20,000km SeaMeWe-4 cable linking the city of Annaba (Algeria) to Marseille (France) – which is said to carry roughly 80% of Algeria’s international traffic – was damaged last week; the infrastructure has now been repaired, with Algerie Telecom disclosing that it would compensate all subscribers affected by the cut. Elsewhere, Ms Feraoun and her Tunisian counterpart Noomene El Fehri also agreed to ‘strengthen the capacity of fibre-optic links’ between the two countries, with Ms Feraoun cited by APS as saying that the cooperation ‘will allow a direct connection without going through other transit points’.

Brazilian state-owned telecoms infrastructure provider Telebras has inked a partnership agreement with Silica Networks, an Argentinian company owned by Datco Group, to interconnect their respective fibre-optic networks. Silica Networks presides over a 7,000km network in Argentina and Chile, while Telebras has a 25,000km national backbone. The agreement – which will enable interconnection between Brazil, Argentina and Chile – will see Silica’s networks intersect with Telebras’ backbone in Paso de Los Libres, a border town located between Argentina and Brazil, where Telebras owns a point of presence (PoP). Going forward, the Brazil-Argentina-Chile network will be connected to the proposed eulaLink submarine cable, which will link Lisbon (Portugal) with Fortaleza (Brazil). As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, the eulaLink project, which is scheduled to be RFS by 2017, is being built by a consortium led by Telebras and Spanish cable operator IslaLink. The European Commission (EC) will invest around EUR25 million (USD27.5 million) in the new fibre-optic infrastructure via the Building Europe Link to Latin America (BELLA) project.

Elsewhere in Latin America, wholesale provider Internexa, a subsidiary of Colombia’s power utility Interconexion Electrica SA (ISA), has signed a USD120 million contract with Telefonica’s subsidiaries in Colombia and Brazil for the acquisition of rights to use dark fibre from the PCCS and SAM-1 submarine cables linking Colombia and Brazil to the US. News portal reports that the 15-year contract will extend the company’s fibre-optic network to 49,000km. TeleGeography notes that Internexa currently presides over a South American network that spans 30,000km across Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Brazil and Argentina. In November 2013 Internexa unveiled the USD88 million acquisition of NQT, a wholesale carrier based in Rio de Janeiro.

Cheikh Bakhoum, head of Senegal’s state IT agency ADIE, has announced that the third phase of the deployment of the country’s fibre-optic backbone network – dubbed Senegal-wide – will commence shortly. According to local news agency Le Soleil, 3,000km of fibre cabling will be added to the 1,500km already deployed by the ADIE, in addition to the construction of a second data centre. The USD85 million contract has been awarded to equipment vendor Huawei. TeleGeography notes that the first phase of the project saw 500km of fibre deployed in the capital Dakar, while the second stage – which was completed in 2012 – consisted of the rollout of 1,000km of cabling to Mbour, Kaolack, Fatick, Tamba, Velingara, Ziguinchor, Saint-Louis, Louga and Diourbel.

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