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

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11 Dec 2015

Brazilian state-owned telecoms infrastructure provider Telebras has announced that construction work on a new submarine cable, tentatively called eulaLink – which will link Lisbon (Portugal) with Fortaleza (Brazil) – will commence in April 2016. The 5,785km cable – which is being developed in partnership with Spain’s IslaLink – will require an investment of USD250 million and will have design capacity of 30Tbps. Telebras will have a 35% stake in the project, while IslaLink will hold 45%; the remaining 20% will be owned by a yet-to-be identified Brazilian shareholder. The eulaLink cable will stretch from Santos (Sao Paulo) to a hub in Fortaleza (Ceara) and will link the two Brazilian locations to Sines in Portugal. It will also have planned future branches to French Guiana, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal). As reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium in June 2015, the European Commission (EC) will invest around EUR25 million (USD28 million) in the new cable via the Building Europe Link to Latin America (BELLA) project, which was put forward by European research network DANTE and its Latin American counterpart RedCLARA.

Huawei Marine Networks has announced that the August 2015 upgrade of the 14,530km West African Cable System (WACS) to 100G technology is now live, after the successful completion of a customer certification and testing programme. Huawei used Soft Decision-Forward Error Correction (SD-FEC) and bit interleaved technologies for the upgrade, with the total capacity of the system now standing at 14.5Tbps. The WACS cable – which was commissioned in May 2012, with an initial design capacity of 5.12Tbps – spans the west coast of Africa, linking South Africa to the UK, with landings in Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands and Portugal.

A state-backed project to connect India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands, situated in the Bay of Bengal, with Port Blair in Chennai (the capital of Tamil Nadu state), via a fibre-optic submarine cable link has been assigned to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the Echo of India reports. Under the project – which has been submitted by Telecom Consultant of India Limited (TCIL), and will be deployed in one phase – the submarine cable will stretch from Port Blair to five islands, namely Havelock, Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Kamorta and Campbell Bay. The Telecom Commission (the highest decision-making body of the Ministry of Communications) is expected to approve the project by January 2016, with a marine survey for laying the submarine cable likely to be completed by December that year. Going forward, the Indian government is forecasting that the cable deployment will be concluded by April/May 2018.

Investors from Singapore are reportedly interested in providing funding of USD150 million for the construction of a fibre-optic connection between Indonesia’s capital Jakarta and Surabaya, located in the East Java province, according to Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). Under the unconfirmed plans, the unnamed investor is planning to set up two companies in Indonesia in order to oversee the whole project. Franky Sibarani, head of the BKPM, was cited by as saying: ‘There is a Singapore-based company [which is] interested in building integrated communication lines in Jakarta and Surabaya … After Surabaya and Jakarta, they will build a fibre-optic network in other big cities in Java that will interconnect the entire island of Java without any affiliation with other telecom service providers.’

Finally, Iraq’s ScopeSky will establish a point of presence (PoP) at the UAE-based carrier neutral data centre Datamena, thus adding Dubai to its existing PoPs in London and Frankfurt. In addition, ScopeSky has entered into a joint agreement with the Investment and Technology Group (ITC Group), which has the rights to operate the Gulf Bridge International Cable System (GBICS) – a multilayer carrier neutral network owned by Gulf Bridge International (GBI) – from Iraq to Dubai.

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