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

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12 Feb 2016

Omantel has signed a supply agreement with Xtera Communications for the construction of a new submarine cable system – dubbed Gulf2Africa (G2A) – in partnership with Ethio Telecom, Golis Telecom and Telesom. Xtera will supply its turnkey 100G+ submarine cable system solution, including subsea optical repeaters, Nu-Wave Optima Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE), cable and all marine services. The network will land at Salalah in Oman, Bosaso (Puntland, Somalia) and Berbera (Somaliland, Somalia) with a terrestrial extension to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. From Salalah, a terrestrial link through Oman will interconnect the system with Omantel’s nine operational submarine cable networks. The 1,500km G2A system – which will have design capacity of 20Tbps – will be ready for service (RFS) in Q4 2016. Sohail Qadir, vice president at Omantel Wholesale, said: ‘This is the first step on our expansion journey into Africa where we will go from Oman directly to Somalia and then extend the cable further into Africa to Ethiopia … These two highly under-served countries will soon be connected to our international low-latency network, gain access to all the content hosted in Oman with Omantel and consume services from Europe and Southeast Asia.’

New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the governments of the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and French Polynesia have agreed to deploy a new submarine cable across the Pacific within three years, following discussions in Auckland last week. According to, the ministry intends to present the Pacific nations with ‘solutions for a submarine cable and satellite infrastructure’ by August 2016, while also pledging to ‘facilitate the planning and development phases of the project’. Cook Islands finance minister Mark Brown meanwhile was cited as saying that the ‘most viable’ options to improve internet access in the region were presented by submarine operators Hawaiki Cable and BlueSky. Auckland-based Hawaiki is aiming to deploy a 13,127km fibre-optic cable linking Australia, New Zealand and the US with a number of South Pacific Islands and Hawaii, though the lack of capital has led to several deployment delays. For its part, BlueSky’s Moana Cable – which is scheduled to be completed in 2018 – is aiming to connect New Zealand to Hawaii, while also serving Samoa, American Samoa and the Cook Islands.

A fault has been reported on the PIPE Pacific Cable-1 (PPC-1) submarine cable stretching from Sydney (Australia) to Guam, with the network expected to be out of service until at least 7 March. PPC-1’s owner, Australia-based TPG Telecom, revealed that the submarine cable broke around 4,590km from the cable’s landing station in Piti (Guam), roughly 2km below the surface. In the meantime, TPG Telecom said that traffic will be routed via alternate routes, including the Australia-Japan Cable (AJC) and Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN).

Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) has begun exporting 10Gbps of unused bandwidth to the northeastern Indian state of Tripura, in line with a deal signed with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) last year, the Daily Star reports. The Bangladeshi company started supplying the bandwidth on a trial basis on 7 February, and BSNL has reportedly confirmed that it is now utilising the full capacity. The terrestrial cable link between the two countries – which stretches from Cox’s Bazar landing station (Bangladesh) to Agartala, located in Tripura, via Akhaura (Brahmmanbaria District) – was completed on 16 November 2015. TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium notes that the agreement will be in force for four years, with an option to increase the supplied bandwidth to 40Gbps, depending on Indian requirements; BSCCL will receive BDT96.0 million (USD1.2 million) per year under the deal.

Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica has announced the creation of Telxius, a new global infrastructure company which will now operate Telefonica Group´s international network of 31,000km of submarine fibre-optic cable, including SAM-1, a submarine cable that connects the United States with Central and South America.

Estonian operator Telia Eesti has deployed 100Gbps core technology provided by ADVA Optical Networking on its national backbone network. Telia Eesti is using the ADVA FSP 3000 system, complete with multi-degree ROADMs, to link every major Estonian city in an ultra-high bandwidth long-haul network.

Shenandoah Telecommunications has upgraded its mid-Atlantic fibre-optic network to support 100G technology, with Cumberland (Maryland), Morgantown (West Virginia), and Carlisle, Harrisburg, Hershey, Waynesboro and York (all Pennsylvania) now within the upgrade footprint. Shentel said that further network upgrades are expected in Staunton, Lexington, Lynchburg and Roanoke (Virginia) in 2016. The company is understood to have used equipment provided by Cisco, following the inking of an agreement with the vendor for the supply of 100Gbps DWDM technology in 2013.

Lastly, Viettel has announced that its Mozambique-based subsidiary Movitel has increased its national fibre-optic backbone to 27,000km by end-2015, up from 5,000km reported in 2011.

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