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

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18 Dec 2015

Liquid Telecom has embarked on a project to build a new 10,000km submarine cable – Liquid Sea – which will link Africa to the Middle East, while also providing onward connectivity to Europe. According to a company press release, the project is already fully funded, and is estimated to take two years to complete. The new submarine cable – with a design capacity of 20Tbps-30Tbps – is expected to directly connect all countries along the east coast of Africa and will have landing stations in several unnamed ports not currently served by submarine cables. It will also leverage Liquid Telecom’s 20,000km pan-African terrestrial fibre-optic network – which connects to five submarine cable systems, namely WACS, EASSY, SEACOM, SAT-3 and TEAMS – to provide onward connectivity to landlocked countries on the continent. Liquid Telecom Group CEO Nic Rudnick confirmed that a request for tender has been issued to international submarine cable vendors.

Huawei Marine has partnered with Ooredoo Maldives to deploy a 1,200km fibre-optic submarine cable, which will utilise Huawei’s 100G technology. Dubbed the National Submarine Cable Project, the new submarine cable is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. TeleGeography notes that the Maldives is currently served by three submarine networks, namely Dhiraagu Cable Network(which connects the nation’s main atolls), WARF Submarine Cable (which provides onward connectivity from the Maldives to Sri Lanka and India) and the Maldives-India Dhiraagu-SLT Submarine Cable Network.

A deal to build the trans-Caspian Sea segment of Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM) has been agreed upon by the Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan’s governments, reports. The move comes nearly eleven months after a similar agreement was reached between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan for the system deployment. As noted by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, a preliminary memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding the implementation of the TASIM system was signed in Baku, Azerbaijan in December 2013, by China Telecom (China), KazTransCom (Kazakhstan), Rostelecom (Russia), Turk Telekom (Turkey) and Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. When finalised, the backbone network will connect 20 countries via two alternative routes – Southern and Northern – stretching from Frankfurt (Germany) to Hong Kong.

Hibernia Networks has selected Emerson Network Power, a subsidiary of Emerson, to design and construct two fully integrated cable landing stations in Canada and the UK, which will host the 4,600km Hibernia Express system, a low latency fibre-optic submarine cable which stretches from Halifax (Canada) to Cork (Ireland). The dual landing stations, which were deployed concurrently, took seven months to complete.

Kazakhstan-based service provider Transtelecom has upgraded its national fibre-optic network – which runs to the Chinese border – with 100G DWDM capabilities, based on optical transport gear from Ekinops. Transtelecom’s infrastructure, which spans 13,000km, forms part of a larger network which connects China with Western Europe.

Prysmian Group has signed an agreement to acquire an additional 16% stake in Oman Cables Industry for EUR100 million (USD108 million), thus gaining majority ownership (51%) of the cable manufacturer. ‘We consider our investment in Oman Cables Industry of strategic importance to our presence in the Middle East region’, Prysmian’s Group CEO Valerio Battista said, adding: ‘We believe that the company has already demonstrated [that it is] able to succeed in the market, and it is now well positioned to seize new growth opportunities.’

Finally, UK-based CityFibre has announced the conditional acquisition of national infrastructure assets from KCOM Group for a total consideration of GBP90.0 million (USD137.0 million). The purchase covers approximately 1,100km worth of metro network assets in 24 towns and cities, and a 1,100km long-distance network connecting 22 towns and cities, linking to data centres and wholesale internet peering points in London. The acquired assets do not include KCOM’s network assets in Hull and East Yorkshire.