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

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22 Jan 2016

RAM Telecom International (RTI) and Bluesky Pacific Group, a subsidiary of Madrid-based multinational communications group Amper, have agreed to optimise end-to-end connectivity between the South-East Asia-US (SEA-US) fibre-optic network and Bluesky Pacific Group’s Moana cable network by interconnecting the two systems. The 15,000km SEA-US submarine cable will link Manado (Indonesia) to Los Angeles (US) via Oahu (Hawaii) in Q4 2016. For its part, 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.

Seabras-1 USA has applied for a licence to land and operate a fibre-optic submarine cable – connecting Praia Grande (Brazil) with Avon-by-the-Sea (New Jersey, US) – within the US. The company is planning to commence commercial services on the Seabras-1 route in Q2 2017. Seabras-1 USA – which will operate the cable system on a non-common-carrier basis by providing bulk capacity to customers on particularised terms and conditions pursuant to individualised negotiations – has observed that ‘a timely grant of a cable landing licence by the Commission no later than September 2016 of paramount importance.’

China Unicom has boosted its access to a terrestrial Asia-Europe transmission route by expanding a deal with Russian carrier MegaFon, reports. Under the new agreement, MegaFon will provide China Unicom with two new 10Gbps data transfer channels via its 8,700km fibre-optic trunk line Diverse Route for European and Asian Markets (DREAM) network. Launched in October 2013, DREAM extends through the territories of Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Austria and Germany, and was created in cooperation with Kazakhtelecom (KT) and Interoute. The route connects Frankfurt, Germany to the Kazakhstan-China border, and has a potential capacity of up to 8Tbps. MegaFon opened a 10Gbps channel for China Unicom in 2014.

Level 3 Communications has increased the capacity on its fibre-optic network in Southern Brazil. The additional 250Gbps of capacity between Porto Alegre and Curitiba enables lower latency and increased redundancy and route diversity for the region. Several cities will benefit from the upgrade, including Lajeado, Bento Goncalves and Vacaria in Rio Grande do Sul, as well as the regions of Lages (Santa Catarina) and Mafra (Parana). Elsewhere, Level 3 and Google have entered into an interconnection agreement and ‘free-peering’ between their global backbone networks. The agreement is based on the concept of balance ‘bit miles’.

The Asia America Gateway (AAG) consortium has upgraded its trans-Pacific AAG cable network with Ciena’s GeoMesh submarine solutions. With Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform – powered by WaveLogic coherent optics and Flexible Grid technology – AAG can seamlessly add capacity and cost-effectively extend the useful lifetime of its network. The 20,000km AAG link is the sole submarine cable directly connecting south-east Asia to the US, via Guam and Hawaii. It provides connectivity between Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii and the US West Coast.

SEACOM is expanding its terrestrial network and upgrading capacity on key submarine links with Ciena’s GeoMesh submarine solution and converged Packet-Optical Platform to deliver new network solutions to service providers. SEACOM’s submarine and terrestrial networks stretch across 17,000km, connecting Africa to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Elsewhere, Global Cloud Xchange (GCX) has deployed Ciena’s Packet Networking solutions to enable high-capacity Ethernet services on its transatlantic route.

Xtera Communications has announced the completion of the marine installation of an unnamed second repeatered submarine cable system, which was deployed in the Atlantic Ocean in Q4 2015. Xtera also completed testing of all fibre pairs between the two landing sites by that date. The 1,500km cable system has been built with Xtera’s Raman-based repeaters, which offer multiple optical transmission benefits, including wider spectrum, better noise performance, longer repeater spacing and higher tolerance to strong increases in span loss, compared with repeaters based on erbium-doped fibre amplifiers.

According to a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) released last week, the city of Hermosa Beach in Los Angeles, California could serve as a landing site for up to four submarine cables connecting the US coast to a number of locations, including south-east Asia, China, Australia and Japan. Under RAM Telecom International’s (RTI’)s Transpacific Submarine Fibre Optic Cable Systems project, the SEA-US cable (scheduled to be ready for service [RFS] by end-2016) and a second fibre-optic network – the planned China-US system – are both set to land at the mooted 25th Street site. Two additional ‘cross-Pacific’ submarine networks are also projected to land at Hermosa (25th Street or Neptune Avenue) between 2017-2020 and 2020-2025. The DEIR is open for public comments until 17 February.

Infinera and Telstra have successfully validated Infinera’s Advanced Coherent Toolkit (ACT) for super-channels over the 9,125km Telstra Endeavour submarine cable linking Sydney (Australia) and Oahu (Hawaii). The vendor claims that the new technology will extract the maximum capacity from subsea and long haul terrestrial cable systems carrying super-channels.

Lastly, US-based Allied Fiber has entered into a 20-year Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) agreement with full-service telecoms firm Southern Light. Southern Light will leverage Allied Fiber’s Southeast Network and will use two fibre strands and establish a presence in all five of Allied Fiber’s colocation facilities in Georgia. Southern Light has the option to purchase additional strands on similar terms within a fixed-time period.

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