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

29 Apr 2016

DOCOMO Pacific, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTT DOCOMO, has revealed that the planned ATISA fibre-optic submarine cable system will be ready for service (RFS) by May 2017, the Guam Daily Post reports. The 280km cable will connect the unincorporated US territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) – specifically the islands of Saipan, Rota and Tinian. The ATISA cable will comprise six fibre pairs, with initial capacity of 100Gbps on the Guam-Saipan route (over three express fibre pairs) and 10Gbps on the other routes (Guam-Rota, Guam-Tinian, Rota-Tinian, Rota-Saipan and Tinian-Saipan) for total design capacity of 4.8Tbps using current technology. DOCOMO’s USD26 million investment in the project will comprise USD16 million for the construction of the cable and the backup microwave system and USD10 million within the next two years for upgrades to the fixed and mobile network on the three islands. Jonathan Kriegel, president and CEO of DOCOMO Pacific, said: ‘In our case, we will be the primary customer for our cable. We will consume the vast capacity and that is why we are building it. But when we build it, we will be able to compete fairly in the CNMI.’ TeleGeography notes that the sole submarine link between the two locations – the Mariana-Guam Cable – is operated by IT&E; the link was out of service for nearly a month in July 2015 due to a cut caused by a series of typhoons in the area.

The American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA) has signed a deal with Auckland-based Hawaiki Cable Limited for the construction of a submarine cable spur connecting the island nation of American Samoa to the Hawaiki Submarine Cable System, which will have landing stations at Oregon (US), Whangarei (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia), Radio New Zealand reports. The system – which is being built by US submarine cable vendor TE SubCom – is expected to be RFS by mid-2018. Once completed, the roughly 14,000km cable will deliver more than 30Tbps of capacity via TE SubCom’s C100U+ Submarine Line Terminating Equipment (SLTE) and will allow for optional connectivity to islands along the route utilising TE SubCom’s optical add/drop multiplexing (OADM) nodes.

Middle East submarine cable solutions provider E-Marine has signed a deal with Huawei Marine Networks for the deployment of a 1,200km submarine system linking the main islands in the Maldives, on behalf of Ooredoo Maldives, Zawya writes. Dubbed the National Submarine Cable Project, the new link is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. TeleGeography notes that the Maldives is currently served by three submarine cable networks, namely: Dhiraagu Cable Network (which connects the nation’s main atolls), WARF Submarine Cable (which provides onward connectivity from the Maldives to Sri Lanka and India) and the Maldives-India Dhiraagu-SLT Submarine Cable Network.

The government Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, is backing a project to divert a proposed submarine cable, tentatively called EllaLink – which will connect Lisbon (Portugal) with Fortaleza (Brazil) – to the island group, and is seeking financing of EUR20 million (USD22.7 million) from the EU to cover the extra costs, Portuguese news service Publico writes. The EllaLink cable will stretch from Santos (Sao Paulo) to a hub in Fortaleza (Ceara) and will link the two Brazilian locations to Sines in Portugal; the cable is scheduled to come within 100km of Madeira. It will also have planned future branches to French Guiana, Cape Verde and the Canary Islands (Spain). The 5,785km cable – which is being developed in partnership with Spain’s IslaLink – will require total investment of USD250 million and will have design capacity of 30Tbps. Brazilian state-owned telecoms infrastructure provider Telebras will have a 35% stake in the project, while IslaLink will hold 45%; the remaining 20% will be owned by a yet-to-be identified Brazilian shareholder.

A new fibre-optic cable between Asia and Europe via the Northeast Passage is reportedly under consideration, Finnish news agency Vasabladet reports. Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner has reportedly appointed a group of officials to explore the prerequisites for international cooperation from 2 May until 31 October 2016, as the project would require a commitment from a number of countries, including Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, Norway and the US. The proposed network could run from the Arctic Ocean to the Baltic Sea, via Finland, Norway or Russia.

Peru’s 13,000km National Fibre Optic Backbone (NFOB), connecting Lima with 22 regional capitals and 180 provincial capitals, has reportedly been completed, Prensario reports. The tender for the design, deployment and operation of the USD323 million backbone project was awarded to a consortium comprising Latin American broadcast giant TV Azteca and local company Tendai in late 2013. Meanwhile, Viettel’s Peruvian unit Bitel has become the first tenant on the network, after it signed a contract with Azteca Communications Peru – the local subsidiary of TV Azteca – to lease capacity on the backbone. The agreement will enable Bitel to provide services via twelve carrier links to the regions of Ica, Pasco, Ayacucho, Huanuco, Huancavelica and Apurimac.

Telia Carrier, the newly re-branded global arm of Telia Company (formerly TeliaSonera), is doubling its West Coast backbone with an additional Pacific Coast Highway route between the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, in partnership with Infinera. Telia Carrier claims that connectivity will be enhanced between the two major hubs by providing latency, diversity and redundancy between Silicon Valley and the Pacific cable landing points in Los Angeles, while also creating an additional path for Asia-Pacific traffic from and to the US. Infinera’s TM-Series will provide Telia Carrier’s metro network with a 100G packet-optical platform featuring multi-service capabilities.

Lastly, Chinese-owned CITIC Telecom International CPC (CITIC Telecom CPC) has announced the acquisition of the telecoms business of Amsterdam-based Linx Telecommunications, including Linx’s 470km submarine fibre network in the Baltic Sea (linking Sweden, Finland and Estonia), its network operations centres (NOCs) in Moscow and Tallinn (Estonia), its Tallinn data centre, which serves as Estonia’s largest Internet Exchange (TLL-IX), and extensive infrastructure/business operations serving customers in 14 countries with 24 PoPs across Western Europe, Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The majority of Linx’s clients are major companies utilising data services such as Ethernet circuits, bandwidth services, MPLS VPNs, data centres and cloud computing. The acquisition will extend CITIC Telecom CPC’s existing reach – Asia-Pacific, North America and Western Europe – to a number of Central Asian and Eastern European markets. Currently undergoing regulatory approval, the takeover is expected to be completed in the second half of 2016.

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