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

15 Jan 2016

Aqua Comms has revealed that the AEConnect (AEC) subsea fibre-optic system, which stretches from Shirley (New York) to Killala on the West Coast of Ireland, is now offering commercial services. The AEConnect cable – which has a design capacity of 13Tbps (130Gbps x 100Gbps) per fibre pair, and more than 52Tbps of available capacity – spans more than 5,522km across the Atlantic, with stubbed branching units available for future deployments. Greg Varisco, chief operations officer at Aqua Comms, said: ‘This next-generation transatlantic cable system, which is future-proofed against increased capacity requirements, will lower network costs and enable higher, more consistent network performance for end-users.’ The cable was deployed in cooperation with AquaComms’ vendor partner, TE SubCom.

The Nigerian-Cameroun Submarine Cable System (NCSCS), which connects Lagos in Nigeria with Kribi (Cameroon), went live in December 2015. The submarine cable installation commenced in June 2015 following a tripartite partnership between MainOne, Cameroon’s Ministry of Post and Telecommunications and Huawei Marine Networks, with the marine installation of the network completed in September 2015. Spanning approximately 1,100km, the Cameroonian government’s wholly-owned cable – which incorporates the world’s first titanium-cased six-fibre pair repeater – was lit with initial capacity of 40Gbps, and has an ultimate design capacity of up to 12.8Tbps. The NCSCS also has branching units for future connections to Escravos (Delta State), Qua Iboe (Akwa Ibom State) and Bonny Island (Rivers State) in Nigeria’s south-east region, with MainOne disclosing that it has already concluded plans for a distribution hub in Port Harcourt.

Alcatel-Lucent has been awarded a turnkey contract by Singapore-based telecoms infrastructure firm Campana Group to build the Myanmar-Malaysia-Thailand-International Connection (MYTHIC) submarine cable. The 1,600km MYTHIC cable – which will utilise 100Gbps technology for an initial design capacity of 20Tbps – is scheduled to be completed by the end of Q1 2017. The two-fibre pair system will connect Thanlyin in Myanmar to Satun (Thailand) and Penang (Malaysia), with an option for onward connectivity to Singapore, Hong Kong and beyond, via open access points of presence (POPs).

Finland-based Cinia Group has announced the completion of a new submarine cable, dubbed C-Lion1, which connects Rostock in the north German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to Finland’s capital Helsinki. The EUR100 million (USD113.7 million) cable – which is being financed by the Finnish government and institutional investors OP-Pohjola and Ilmarinen – consists of eight paired fibre-optic cables manufactured by Alcatel-Lucent. The 1,172km fibre-optic system is expected to be ready for service (RFS) in the spring of 2016, and will provide total transmission capacity of 120Tbps when commercially deployed. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in May 2015 Cinia signed a 20-year contract worth EUR10 million with German data centre provider Hetzner Online to utilise the system. Elsewhere, Cinia has selected Xtera Communications to provide its Nu-Wave Optima platform – which includes a 200G optical channel rate and Raman optical amplification for ultra-high link capacity – for Cinia’s pan-European network connecting a number of data centres across Europe.

All segments of the Southern Cross Cable Network connecting Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii have been upgraded with 900Gbps of lit capacity, bringing the system’s total capacity to 5.8Tbps. President and CEO, Anthony Briscoe, said: ‘While we have augmented our transmission by 900Gbps per segment, we have also upgraded our key Ciena 5430 nodes to 15Tbps OTN switching capability … Southern Cross’ key switching nodes are now capable of switching over 100 times Southern Cross’ original segment capacity.’ Mr Briscoe disclosed that the infrastructure – which recently saw the extension of its system life up to 2030 – has a current transmission potential of 14Tbps.

Seaborn Networks has announced the completion of its USD500 million project funding for the in-deployment Seabras-1 system, a trans-oceanic fibre-optic cable aiming to directly connect New York City (US) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). According to a press release, full project equity capital was provided by Partners Group, while development capital was provided by Seaborn. The project funding also includes total project debt of up to USD267 million – provided by Natixis, Banco Santander, Commerzbank and Intesa Sanpaolo – which is backed by Coface, the export credit agency acting on behalf of the French government. The six-fibre pair system with initial maximum design capacity of 72Tbps is currently being deployed by Alcatel-Lucent (with diverse, dark fibre backhaul and metro routes at each end of the system now fully secured) and will be ready for service in the second quarter of 2017. Elsewhere, TI Sparkle has also provided USD300 million worth of long term investment for the construction of a new network system based on three of Seabras-1’s six fibre pairs. In addition to three express fibre pairs connecting Wall (New Jersey, US) to Praia Grande (Brazil), the investment includes a Branch Unit in Fortaleza (Brazil) and a protected backhaul between New York and Miami to connect Seabras-1 to existing proprietary infrastructure.

Ocean Networks has appointed Natixis to act as Exclusive Equity Advisor and Exclusive Debt Advisor for the proposed carrier-neutral South America Pacific Link (SAPL) submarine cable system. Natixis will assists Ocean Networks in raising equity from institutional and infrastructure investors as well as senior secured debt from commercial banks. The project is expected to be financed under a traditional project finance structure and is estimated to be fully funded in less than twelve months. The 17,600km SAPL submarine system – which comprises a fibre-optic system connecting Balboa (Panama) and Santiago (Chile) to Oahu in Hawaii and a 3,000km fibre-optic branch to northern Florida – is scheduled to be RFS in early 2018. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Ocean Networks selected Alca-Lu to build the trans-Pacific SAPL cable system in May 2015. The fibre-optic network will have design capacity of 10Tbps on each of its fibre pairs – three pairs between Panama and Hawaii, three (Panama-Chile) and six (Panama-Florida) – and will have branching units to Manta (Ecuador), Lima (Peru), Arica (Chile) and the Big Island of Hawaii. Thanks to its PoP in Hawaii, SAPL will also provide a diverse route to the US West Coast and a low latency route from Central and South America to the Asia-Pacific region, in particular to Australia and New Zealand.

Reliance Jio InfoComm has been given coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to land the Asia Africa Europe One (AAE-1) cable at the Versova beach in Mumbai, the Economic Times reports. The 25,000km submarine cable – which is currently being deployed by the AAE consortium (comprising 18 telecoms operators) – is scheduled to be RFS by the end of 2016.

Indonesia-based Biznet has deployed Ciena’s converged packet-optical platforms and GeoMesh submarine solution on its new 100G fibre-optic terrestrial and submarine networks. Biznet – which operates a 15,000km terrestrial network and a submarine connection to Singapore – is leveraging Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform (equipped with WaveLogic Coherent Optical Processors and integrated switching capabilities) over its terrestrial network, and has deployed Ciena’s WaveLogic 3 Extreme coherent optics across its submarine link.

Tanzanian operator SimbaNET has completed the construction of two fibre-optic links connecting Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, to Tanzania and Zambia, with the USD12 million network now handed over to Malawi’s Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC). Domestic newspaper The Nation reports that the Western Fibre Route – which connects Malawi to Zambia – runs from Lilongwe to Chipata (Zambia) via Mchinji, while the Northern Fibre Route (Malawi-Tanzania) stretches from Lilongwe to Songwe via the Lakeshore. The Western Fibre Route is supported by the World Bank’s Regional Communication Infrastructure Programme (RCIP) and will interconnect with the fibre link recently installed by Zambia Electricity Corporation (ZESCO) from Chipata to Lusaka. The networks are expected to be launched commercially in the first quarter of 2016.

Lastly, RAM Telecom International (RTI) has signed a multi-year Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) agreement to supply trans-Pacific fibre system capacity to the University of Hawaii System (UH). RTI will provide the capacity on the 15,000km SEA-US submarine cable, which will link Manado (Indonesia) to Los Angeles (US) via Oahu (Hawaii) in Q4 2016.

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