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

26 Feb 2016

South African operator MTN has concluded a transaction with Liquid Telecom for the acquisition of 400km of long-distance and metro fibres connecting Pretoria with Polokwane for an undisclosed sum. The route forms part of the National Long Distance Fibre Network, a consortium-led initiative between telcos and South African rail company Sanral which saw the deployment of a terrestrial fibre-optic network connecting Gauteng to Cape Town and Durban. Devan Chetty, general manager of MTN South Africa, said that MTN will continue to explore opportunities for deploying its terrestrial, fibre or undersea networks. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium MTN joined the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) cable consortium in 2015, with plans to start construction work on the South Africa’s branch to the cable in Q1 2016. Mr Chetty however said: ‘Our current priority is to connect Cape Town to Durban via East London. This will further enhance our national transmission network and reduce our operational expenditure for capacity from third party suppliers … This fibre-optic route, which was built by Liquid Telecom, supports many hundreds of Gbps of traffic and is scalable to meet future requirements.’

Verizon Communications has signed an agreement to purchase XO Communications’ fibre-optic business for USD1.8 billion. XO – which is owned by billionaire Carl Icahn – presides over a network spanning 20,000 inter-city route miles and 13,000 metro route miles, with over 4,000 on-net buildings and two million business locations within its footprint. The two companies expect the deal to close in the first half of 2017, subject to regulatory approval; XO will continue to operate independently until then.

Spark’s Wholesale and International division announced today that it has signed an interconnectivity deal with China Telecom Global. The deal will see the two companies partnering to carry all their respective internet traffic between China and New Zealand and throughout the Pacific region. The improvements will lower latency times between the two countries, reducing load times for web content and improving shared application performance.

euNetworks is expanding its long haul DWDM network to Marseille (France) via two new fibre routes – Paris-Lyon-Marseille and Frankfurt-Strasbourg-Basel-Zurich-Milan-Marseille – in addition to a new route from Lyon to Geneva and Zurich. TeleGeography notes that the infrastructure provider operates 13 fibre-based metropolitan networks across Europe, covering 45 cities in ten countries.

The government of the South Pacific island nation of Tonga has opened negotiations to sell off a quarter of its 80% stake in submarine cable operator Tonga Cable Limited to Digicel Group. The company was established in November 2009 to manage Tonga Cable, the country’s sole fibre-optic submarine link connecting Nuku’alofa (Tonga) to Suva in Fiji. Matangi Tonga reports that the state is considering the sale in order to secure the funding required to connect the isles of Vava’u and Ha’apai to Tonga Cable. Although the value of the deal has not been disclosed, it is understood that the government needs at least USD5 million to complete the connection of the two named islands.

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