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

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13 May 2016

Multinet Pakistan and Omantel have awarded a turnkey supply contract to Xtera Communications for the deployment of a new subsea cable system, dubbed Silk Route Gateway (SRG-1). The cable will stretch from Muscat in Oman to Karachi in Pakistan, with a planned future extension to Gwadar (Pakistan); the system will have two fibre pairs with a design capacity of 10Tbps each. Xtera will supply its turnkey 100G/100G+ optimised submarine system solution, including Nu-Wave Optima Submarine Line Terminal Equipment, undersea optical repeaters, undersea branching units, cable, all marine services, project management, installation and commissioning.

Retelit, the Italian landing party for the AAE-1 consortium, has announced the successful arrival of the AAE-1 cable in the Italian city of Bari. The 25,000km submarine network – which has a design capacity of 40Tbps – will connect Asia, the Middle East, East Africa and Europe, and is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) by Q4 2016. The cable landing station in Bari connects to the fibre-optic infrastructure owned by Retelit, providing a new alternative Mediterranean gateway to and from Europe. With the bulk of the undersea network already installed – including eleven of 20 shore-end landings – AAE-1 is on track to reach its target RFS date, at the end of 2016. When operational, the cable will provide its customers with the lowest latency and express connectivity available between Asia and Europe.

Melbourne-based telecoms provider Telstra has announced that it plans to expand its presence in the Asia Pacific region by embarking on a number of infrastructure projects, including the deployment of a fibre overland route between Kaoshiung (Taiwan) and Hong Kong and a fibre-optic ring network in South Korea, while also obtaining capacity on the FASTER submarine cable system. The new overland fibre network in Taiwan will circumvent the natural disaster-prone Luzon Strait region, and will link to Telstra’s submarine cables in that area. The telco will also build a new fibre ring connecting its PoPs in South Korea, providing eight 100Gbps interconnection routes in and out of the country. Further, Telstra has confirmed that it has secured capacity on the 10,000km FASTER subsea cable system connecting Japan with the west coast of the US, thus opening up an alternative route from Asia to the Americas. The subsea cable, consisting of six fibre pairs, makes use of 10Gbps wave technology.

Telekom Malaysia™ has inked a strategic agreement with global fibre network operator Hurricane Electric (HE) for the provision of high speed broadband services in emerging Asian markets. Under the agreement, TM will use its ownership in multiple Asia-Pacific subsea cable systems to help HE meet its Asian expansion ambitions. TM is currently involved in a number of cable projects, including the SeaMeWe-5 cable (scheduled to be RFS in November 2016), the Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG) – linking Malaysia and Singapore to Oman and the UAE, with additional branches to India and Sri Lanka – and the 1,300km Malaysia-Cambodia-Thailand (MCT) Cable system (RFS in Q4 2016). In turn, HE will use its global IPv4 and IPv6 network to help TM expand its global IP reach. The partnership will also support TM’s government-backed High Speed Broadband Project Phase 2 (HSBB 2) and the Sub-Urban Broadband Project (SUBB) projects to improve connectivity in Malaysia.

Auckland-based Hawaiki Cable Limited has revealed that Amazon Web Services (AWS) has purchased capacity on the Hawaiki Cable linking Oregon (US) with Whangarei (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia). The fully-funded system – which is being built by US submarine cable vendor TE SubCom – will have design capacity of more than 30Tbps, and is expected to be RFS by mid-2018. It will complement Amazon Web Services’ global infrastructure, which comprises 33 ‘availability zones’ across twelve geographic regions worldwide, (including one in Sydney), with another five regions (and eleven availability zones) in Canada, China, India, Ohio and the UK scheduled to come online throughout the next year. Hawaiki now has four ‘anchor’ customers, namely Amazon, New Zealand research network REANZ, Vodafone and American Samoa Telecom.

Transtelco – which owns and operates long-haul and metropolitan fibre networks in the southern US and Mexico – has selected global telecoms solutions provider Hibernia Networks to provide it with additional capacity for their IP backbone network. Hibernia Networks offers a congestion-free, scalable IP network that runs on its IP backbone connecting over 220 PoPs worldwide.

Ukrainian telecoms provider Datagroup has deployed a 1,783km fibre-optic network connecting Lviv in Ukraine to Frankfurt (Germany) via Poland, using equipment provided by Ekinops. Alexandr Vereschak, technical director of Datagroup, said: ‘This forms part of a larger network between China and Western Europe … For us, this new network means we can now offer the shortest connection between China and Germany.’

GTT Communications and Gulf Bridge International (GBI) have formed a strategic partnership to provide enhanced services and connectivity in the Middle East. As part of the agreement, GTT will add new PoPs in the Middle East, initially in the UAE and Qatar, while GBI will gain connectivity to the US and Europe via GTT’s global footprint.

Wholesale fibre-optic network services provider GlobeNet has revealed that it now offers 100Gbps wavelength services from New York and Miami in the US to major data centers in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil. GlobeNet positions its DWDM-based wavelength services as a more flexible alternative to dark fibre. TeleGeography notes that GlobeNet currently operates a submarine cable system that serves Brazil, Bermuda, Colombia, the US and Venezuela.

British wholesale operator Interoute will deploy 2×100G services for Bulgaria-based carrier Sofia Connect within a three-week period. Interoute will provide Sofia Connect with a fully diverse network service from Sofia in Bulgaria to Frankfurt (Germany) via several major network hubs, including Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Prague and Munich. Interoute owns and operates a pan-European network encompassing twelve data centres, 14 virtual data centres and 31 colocation centres, with connections to 195 additional third-party data centres across Europe.

Lastly, New Jersey-based fibre-optic provider Cross River Fiber is planning to expand its infrastructure by more than 50 miles by constructing a new high-density fibre-optic network. The expansion will connect more than 25 of Cross River Fiber’s on-net data centres in New Jersey and New York to multiple subsea cable landing stations along the New Jersey coastline.

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