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

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8 Jul 2016

In a project initiated by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), telecoms operators representing Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion have come together to jointly deploy a new submarine cable link between the three island nations. According to local news sources, the EUR75 million (USD83 million) cable will be called Meltingpot Indianoceanic Submarine System (METISS), and is expected to be ready for service (RFS) in 2018. Participants in the project have been named as Telma and Blueline of Madagascar; Emtel of Mauritius, Zeop and SFR of Reunion, Only (Reunion/Mayotte) and Canal+ of France.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed that it has received a submarine cable landing licence application for the 6,605km MAREA subsea system, which will link Virginia Beach (US) with Bilbao (Spain). The cable will consist of eight optical fibre pairs, with a total design capacity of 20Tbps per fibre pair, and will use a new landing station in Virginia Beach and an existing station in Bilbao. The application was filed by Edge Cable Holdings (Edge USA – a direct subsidiary of Facebook), Microsoft Infrastructure Group, Telefonica International Wholesale Services America (TIWS America) and Telefonica International Wholesale Services USA (TIWS USA), and the US landing station will be owned by Edge USA (25%), Microsoft (25%) and TIWS (50%); Microsoft will serve as the landing partner. MAREA is expected to provide new, low latency connectivity, in connection with terrestrial backhaul facilities, to data centres in the Northern Virginia region in and around Ashburn (known as ‘Data Centre Alley’), southern Virginia and North Carolina. The applicants intend to commence commercial operation of the MAREA system by the first quarter of 2018, the filing notes.

In other news, the FCC has approved the transfer of the interest in the cable landing licence for the AmeriCan-1 submarine cable system, as held by Allstream Fiber US to its 100% direct parent, Zayo Group. Allstream holds a 25% interest in the AmeriCan-1 cable, which connects Washington State with Canada. The other interests in AmeriCan-1 are not affected by this transaction. In a planned internal corporate restructuring, Allstream-US was merged with and into Zayo, effective from 30 June 2016.

Meanwhile in New Zealand, the Hawaiki Submarine Cable has taken the first tranche of its investment from Natixis, a corporate investment bank based in Paris. The bank is funding a portion of the system’s construction costs through a senior loan facility. Back in June 2015 Natixis agreed to become the exclusive equity adviser to Hawaiki, which is designed to connect Australia and New Zealand to the mainland US via Hawaii.

In related news, the leaders of the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Niue and Tokelau are to meet in New Zealand next week to discuss the deployment of a new Pacific-based submarine cable. According to Radio New Zealand, the meeting is an initiative of the New Zealand government but other parties, such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are expected to be in attendance. It remains unclear as to whether the talks will focus on a brand new cable, or discuss the resurrection of an abandoned project.

China Telecom Global and CAT Telecom of Thailand have signed an investment framework for a land and sea-based broadband project to link China and south-east Asia. Thai newspaper the Nation quotes Uttama Savanayana, the Thai minister of ICT, as saying that both parties will now seek partners and strategic alliances for the new project. Work on the terrestrial cable link is likely to start later this year, while Savanayana notes that CAT will invest around THB3 billion (USD85 million) in the project.

Telia Carrier has tapped Munich-based network solutions supplier Coriant, to deploy its 400G-capable CloudWave Optics technology across its pan-European backbone network. According to the vendor, the power-efficient coherent interface technology will enable Telia Carrier to double the capacity on its DWDM infrastructure, which is in part built upon Coriant’s hiT 7300 Multi-Haul Transport Platform.

Finally, South Korea’s DASAN Network Solutions has announced that it has secured a network infrastructure business in India, collaborating with Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Ltd (APSFL), a telecoms operator based in the Andhra Pradesh (AP) state. Based on the agreement, DASAN and APSFL will establish a joint venture and a production facility for network equipment in AP state.

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