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

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4 Dec 2015

Madrid-based multinational communications group Amper, via its subsidiary Bluesky Pacific Group, has awarded a turnkey contract to Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) for the construction of a new submarine cable system spanning 9,700km across the Pacific. Under the terms of the contract, ASN will deploy its advanced submarine optical technology based on the 1620 SOFTNODE and OADM branching units to maximise capacity and network flexibility. The Moana Cable – which is scheduled to be completed in 2018 – will be developed in two phases: the first stage, comprising two fibre pairs, will stretch 8,000km from New Zealand to Hawaii, serving Samoa and American Samoa and significantly enhancing route diversity for New Zealand, while the second segment (based on one fibre pair) will link the Cook Islands to the Samoa hub. The system will utilise ASN’s 200Gbps transmission technology, with ultimate capacity of 20Tbps between Hawaii and New Zealand. The Moana Cable is also designed to accommodate the potential cable extensions to Niue, Tokelau and Tonga (which lie in close proximity to the New Zealand-Hawaii trunk), in addition to French Polynesia. Bluesky has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with RAM Telecom International, for interconnection with the 15,000km SEA-US submarine cable, which will link Indonesia to the US via Hawaii in Q4 2016.

Aqua Comms has completed the final splice of its AEConnect Cable System stretching from Shirley (New York) to Killala on the West Coast of Ireland, thus completing the marine segment of the fibre-optic subsea installation. Scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) by 31 January 2016, the AEConnect cable – which has a design capacity of 130Gbps x 100Gbps per fibre pair, and more than 52Tbps of available capacity – spans more than 5,536km across the Atlantic, with stubbed branching units available for future deployments. The system will also interconnect with CeltixConnect – a 131km Irish Sea subsea cable wholly owned by AquaComms’ subsidiary Sea Fibre Networks (SFN) – to provide extended connectivity to London (UK) and continental Europe. The cable has been deployed in cooperation with AquaComms vendor partner,TE SubCom.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted the applications filed by Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) and Columbus New Cayman Limited (Columbus) seeking consent for the transfer of control of submarine cable landing licences and authorisations from Columbus to CWC. In doing so, the US watchdog has denied the petition filed by Digicel International to impose conditions on the award of the applications, noting that the public interest benefits will outweigh any potential harm. The licences in question apply to the ARCOS-1 and CFX-1 cable systems. Digicel had pressed the FCC to reclassify the two cables as Common Carrier Systems, impose rate regulation and apply dominant carrier obligations on CWC.

The African Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Cameroon have signed a CFA24.5 billion (USD40.6 million) loan agreement for the construction of the second phase of the Central Africa Backbone Project (CAB), AllAfrica reports. Under the four-year programme, a total of 916km of fibre-optic cabling will link Cameroon to the neighbouring countries of Nigeria, the Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The project will comprise five sections: Kumba-Mamfe (187km), Mamfe-Ekok (82km), Bertoua-Batouri-Kentzou (206km), Sangmelima-Djoum-Mintoum-Ntam (331km) and Bamenda-Ndop-Kumbo (110km). Construction work is scheduled to start in 2016.

USA Fiber has reached an agreement with Montgomery County (Maryland) to interconnect its Ashburn-Baltimore dark fibre network with the county’s FiberNet infrastructure, which comprises of 570 miles of fibre connecting 450 buildings. USA Fiber’s president Judd Carothers said: ‘We are bringing Ashburn’s density and capabilities to Montgomery County, with the lowest latency available and at a distance and scope that enables the applications, services, and communications to perform and create new possibilities for the next decades.’ Elsewhere, US-based Birch Communications has revealed that its BirchLink Metro-Fiber service footprint has been extended to more than 400,000 buildings nationwide. The operator’s IP network now covers 44 major markets in 22 states and includes 31,000 route miles of fibre-optic network infrastructure and more than 600 points of presence (PoPs).

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