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

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4 Mar 2016

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 the submarine cable station situated in la Seyne-sur-Mer, located in southern France. 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 17 countries, namely: Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and France. Orange Marine, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orange Group, is managing the installation of the cable in the Mediterranean, with four shore ends in France, Egypt, Italy and Turkey.

The government of Cambodia has granted a 25-year Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) contract to Cambodia Fibre Optic Communication Network (CFOCN), a subsidiary of Shenzhen-based HyalRoute Group, to deploy a submarine cable and landing station in the southwestern province of Preah Sihanouk. Under the deal, the company will invest USD69.7 million to construct the Cambodian section of the Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1) cable. The 25,000km submarine network – with a design capacity of 40Tbps – will connect Asia, the Middle East, East Africa and Europe, and is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in Q4 2016. Elsewhere, China Unicom – one of the members of the AAE-1 consortium – has revealed that the AAE-1 cable has landed in Myanmar. The Chinese carrier is in charge of building the new cable landing station in Ngwe Saung, located in the Irrawaddy region of Myanmar.

The Brazilian government has reportedly reiterated its commitment to support a submarine cable project led by Angola Cables to connect the Brazilian municipality of Fortaleza to Luanda in Angola, Agencia Angola Press writes. To that end, the state was said to have approved funding of BRL600 million (USD158 million). As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in July 2015 Angola Cables signed a contract with the Brazilian municipality to construct a data centre and a submarine cable landing station in the coastal city. The site will host the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS), which will connect Luanda to Fortaleza, and will also serve a number of other affiliated cable systems that are under construction by Angola Cables, including the Monet system, which will link the cities of Santos and Fortaleza in Brazil with Miami, US in Q4 2016. The 6,500km SACS system is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in Q3 2018.

Several unnamed submarine cables in the Asia Pacific region have reportedly been damaged just off the shores of Singapore, following a major earthquake earlier this week, the Register writes citing cloud provider Linode. The operator said that ‘the loss of capacity has caused recent incidents of increased latency and packet loss in Linode’s Singapore datacentre during peak times,’ adding that it could not give an estimate for time-to-repair at this stage. Meanwhile, Melbourne-based Telstra has confirmed that it was also experiencing disruption in the region due to cable damage. Elsewhere, the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) submarine cable system will undergo three days of maintenance starting today (Friday 4 March), a representative from Vietnam’s SPT Telecom told VnExpress. The maintenance work will only apply to the Singapore-Vietnam section of the 20,000km system.

TI Sparkle – the wholly owned subsidiary of Telecom Italia (TIM) – has connected its Palermo data centre to MENA Cable’s landing station in Mazara (Sicily). MENA, a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT), owns five fibre pairs on the 8,800km MENA Cable, which lands in Italy, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt and India. TI Sparkle’s Sicily hub is served by Seabone, its Global Tier-1 IP transit backbone.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information has signed an IDR1.7 trillion (USD127 million) contract with Palapa Ring Barat – a consortium comprising Jakarta-based Mora Telematika Indonesia and an unnamed submarine cable firm – for the construction of the western section of the Palapa Ring Project II, the Jakarta Globe reports. Under the 15-year concession, the consortium will be responsible for connecting Riau province, the Riau Islands and the Natuna Islands with 2,000km of fibre-optic cable. TeleGeography notes that the Palapa Ring II infrastructure project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018, will comprise the deployment of 11,000km of undersea fibre-optic cables across the archipelago’s 33 provinces. The planned network will comprise three sections: western, central and eastern, with the Pandawa Lima consortium – consisting of LEN, Teknologi Riset Global Investama, Sufia Techologies, Bina Nusantara Perkasa and Multi Kontrol Nusantara – awarded the contract for the deployment of the central portion of the project, linking Kalimantan, Sulawesi and North Maluku. The government has yet to reveal the winner of the contract relating to the eastern section of the Palapa Ring II, which will link East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, West Papua and Papua.

Level 3 Communications has revealed that in 2015 it expanded its Latin American IP and metro network by more than 1,000km, while adding new nodes in several cities in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. The company’s Brazilian network now has more than 500 points around the country with 1Gbps throughput capacity, following expansions in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Curitiba and Belo Horizonte. In Colombia, network expansions were completed in Bogota, Cali and Medellin, while the company also extended its long-haul network from Monterrey in Mexico to McAllen (Texas, US). Level 3 said it also invested in optimising its nodes in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Nepomuceno (Brazil), Cali and Bogota (Colombia) and Quito (Ecuador), while adding two new sites in Santos (Brazil) and a cable landing station in Punta Bazan (Colombia).

A total of 362km of fibre-optic cable has already been installed – out of the 504km planned – to connect the Republic of Congo with Gabon, under the World Bank-funded Central Africa Backbone Project (CAB), Le Nouveau Gabon reports. The work, which is being carried out by Huawei Technologies and its sub-contractors, started on 18 June 2015 at Pointe-Noire and will be completed between March and April 2016. The CFA12.1 billion (USD20.2 million) link will traverse a number of localities including Pointe-Noire, Bilinga, Dolisie, Mont Mbelo, Makabana, Mossendjo and finally Mbinda, where it will interconnect with the optical fibre link from Gabon.

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