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

8 Jan 2016

Reliance Jio InfoComm is planning to spend USD6 million on landing the Asia Africa Europe One (AAE-1) cable at the Mumbai suburban beach, the Economic Times reports. The submarine cable is currently being deployed by the AAE consortium (comprising 18 telecoms operators). ‘It will help the current and future high capacity requirements from the surrounding areas of the region as well as next-generation internet applications’, Jio said in an environmental report submitted to the government, adding that the system has the potential to connect 40% of world’s population.

The in-deployment SeaMeWe-5 submarine cable – which will link the Middle East with South East Asia and Western Europe when completed – has landed at Melaka, Malaysia. The new 20,000km international link will have design capacity of 24Tbps and is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in November 2016. The SeaMeWe-5 cable will ultimately link a total of 15 countries, namely: Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and France.

A major breakdown in the India-Middle East-Western Europe (I-ME-WE) submarine cable, which occurred somewhere between the UAE and Pakistan’s capital Karachi on 28 December 2015, has disrupted the provision of broadband services in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India, Pakistani newspaper the Tribune reports. The 12,091km submarine cable – which connects France and India via the Middle East – comprises three fibre-optic pairs and nine terminal stations. According to Imran Janjua, Corporate Communication General Manager at Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL), the fault is currently being repaired by the I-ME-WE consortium. As previously reported by Cable Compendium, the I-ME-WE network experienced another cut in October 2015.

Azouaou Mehmel, CEO of Algerie Telecom, has disclosed that the fault in the SeaMeWe-4 cable has cost his company around DZD600 million (USD5.58 million), Agence Ecofin reports. The 20,000km submarine network linking the city of Annaba (Algeria) to Marseille (France) – which is said to carry roughly 80% of Algeria’s international traffic – was damaged for almost a week in October 2015.

Cote d’Ivoire’s PM Daniel Kablan Duncan has officially inaugurated the second phase of the Eastern Fibre Optic Backbone project, itself part of the Reseau National Haut Debit (RNHD) backbone network, Agence Ivoirienne Presse (AIP) reports. The newly deployed 622km network connects Grand Bassam and Abidjan in the south east with the northeastern town of Bouna via Azaguie, Akoupe, Abengourou, Agnibilekro, Tanda and Bondoukou. The RNHD – which is expected to be completed in 2017 – will have a total length of 6,700km, and will link all prefectures and sub-prefectures. The RNHD project will consist of five deployment phases: the first stage of the programme (launched in July 2012 and expected to be completed ‘shortly’) will see the deployment of a 1,400km network from San Pedro to Ferkessedougou via Tabou, Man, Odienne and Korhogo. The government is planning to commence work on the three remaining stages of the project – with a total length of 5,000km – simultaneously in early 2016.

Kenya’s ICT ministry has announced that by 31 October 2015 a total of 19 new fibre-optic routes have been completed under the second phase of the National Optic Fibre Backbone (NOFBI). A further four fibre-optic routes are currently being deployed, including: Diani-Lunga Lunga (at the border with Tanzania), Machakos-Konza City, Moyale-War Gedud and Rumuruti-Maralal. The deployment of the Kitale-Webuye section however has been delayed due to road works. When completed, the KES6 billion (USD57.7 million) NOFBI network will have a total length of 6,400km and will link all 47 of Kenya’s county headquarters. The first phase of NOFBI – which comprised 4,300km of cabling – was completed in 2009.

Somaliland Cable (SomCable) has revealed that it has completed the first phase of its terrestrial fibre-optic backbone network in Somaliland, AfricaBandwidthMaps.com reports. The first phase of the project consisted of two stages: the Djibouti-Lughaya-Hargeisa section was completed in 2012, while deployment work on the Hargeisa-Borama-Djibouti network commenced in 2014. The 1,200km backbone network – which has a capacity of 400Gbps – currently consists of two rings: the 740km Hargeisa-Gabiley-Boroma-Boon-Elgal-Djibouti-Lughaya-Ceel Sheikh-Hargeisa ring (740km), and the Hargeisa-Ceel Sheikh-Berbera-Burao-Odweyenne-Hargeisa ring (420km). The operator has also deployed a 30km metropolitan fibre-optic network in Hargeisa, with three redundant rings covering most of the city.

Lastly, Zayo Group Holdings has completed the acquisition of Viatel’s infrastructure and non-Irish enterprise businesses from Dublin-based Digiweb Group for EUR95 million (USD102 million). The acquisition provided Zayo with pan-European inter-city and metro fibre capability via an 8,400km fibre network across eight countries, which comprises twelve metro networks, seven data centres and connectivity to 81 on-net buildings.

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