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

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11 Mar 2016

Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica has announced the deployment of a new submarine cable aiming to link Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza (both in Brazil) with San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Virginia Beach (Virginia, US). The 11,000km BRUSA cable is expected to be ready for service (RFS) in early 2018. BRUSA will be operated by Telxius, a new global infrastructure company which is now in charge of Telefonica Group´s 31,000km international submarine cable network.

DOCOMO Pacific, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTT DOCOMO, has awarded a construction contract to NEC Corporation for the deployment of ATISA, a fibre-optic submarine cable system aiming to connect Guam with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The 280km ATISA – which will comprise six fibre pairs – will connect Guam with the CNMI’s islands of Saipan, Rota and Tinian. The new system is scheduled for completion in early-2017.

TE SubCom and the Asia-Africa-Europe-1 (AAE-1) consortium have announced a large-scale wavelength upgrade of the AAE-1 submarine cable system. The deployment will use TE SubCom’s 100Gbps C100U+ transmission equipment technology, which has the potential of improving the spectral efficiency in the fibres. The companies revealed that this is the first capacity upgrade of the system, which is scheduled to be RFS by the end of 2016.

The in-deployment SeaMeWe-5 cable, which will link the Middle East with South East Asia and Western Europe when completed in November this year, has landed in Djibouti, La Nation reports. The new 20,000km international link, with a design capacity of 24Tbps, will ultimately link a total of 17 countries – Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and France. Elsewhere, Turk Telekom (TT) has announced that it has built a SeaMeWe-5 submarine cable landing station in the Aegean resort of Marmaris.

Repair work is currently underway on the PIPE Pacific Cable-1 (PPC-1) system stretching from Sydney (Australia) to Guam, according to the cable’s owner, Australia-based TPG Telecom. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium in early February, 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 has been routed via alternate routes, including the Australia-Japan Cable (AJC) and Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN).

The Basslink submarine cable linking mainland Australia to the island state of Tasmania will be repaired by May after a six-month outage, according to Basslink Group CEO Malcolm Eccles. Basslink said that the fault was located around 98km from the Tasmanian coast, though due to the ‘lack of visible damage’ the cable needs to be cut in order to narrow down the exact location of the fault. This process is expected to take around two weeks, with Mr Eccles saying: ‘While there remains some more days of work and analysis to be done before we can provide a more accurate estimate of return to service, it is an important milestone.’

Regional telecoms infrastructure provider Red Centroamericana de Telecomunicaciones (REDCA) has deployed Coriant’s hiT 7300 Multi-Haul Transport Platform to increase the scalability of its 2,150km regional transport network to beyond 1Tbps. REDCA is a private company that was established to operate the optical ground wire (OPGW) fibre infrastructure installed on the Central America’s Electrical Interconnection system (SIEPAC) interconnecting the power grids of Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Sierra Leone’s president Ernest Bai Koroma has revealed that the country’s component of the ECOWAS Wide Area Network (ECOWAN) backbone project was completed in December 2015. The Patriotic Vanguard cites Mr Koroma as saying: ‘Through the combined efforts of the government and our development partners, most of the major towns and cities now have fibre-optic cable terminating or passing through them.’ Construction work on the 600km backbone infrastructure – linking the capital Freetown with the neighbouring countries of Liberia and Guinea – reportedly began in 2014 and was scheduled for completion within a 22-month time frame. The network was deployed in two phases: the first stage comprised the construction of a fibre-optic route from Freetown to the Guinean border via Jui, Masiaka and Gbalamuya (deployed in April 2015). The second phase linked Masiaka to the border of Liberia, via Mile 91, Moyamba, Bo, Kenema, Zimni and Gendema.

Lastly, Global Marine, a subsidiary of HC2 Holdings, has been awarded an extension to its submarine cable maintenance contract covering the North America Zone (NAZ). Global Marine will now be in charge of cable maintenance in the NAZ region – which covers the area from the Eastern North Pacific to the Equator – until 31 December 2024.

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