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

5 Aug 2016

Reliance Jio Infocomm has received coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance for the deployment of the Indian section of the Asia-Africa-Europe-1 (AAE-1) submarine cable system at Versova Beach, in the Mumbai Suburban district, DNA India reports. A senior government official said: ‘As per the recommendations of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), the Environment Ministry has given the CRZ clearance to the AAE-1 Submarine Cable System project at Versova Beach (Mumbai) to Reliance Jio Infocomm.’ The in-deployment AAE-1 network – which has a design capacity of 40Tbps – will connect Asia, the Middle East, East Africa and Europe via 25,000km of cabling, and is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) by Q4 2016. The cost of the Indian section of the project is estimated at USD6 million.

Telenor Norge has laid a submarine fibre-optic cable from Bodo to Rost in the Lofoten Islands (Norway). The 109km cable – which was deployed in two stages – was supplied by Nexans, with Seaworks acting as shipping contractor. The project was carried out in conjunction with telecoms regulator the Norwegian Communications Authority (Nkom). Telenor now owns and operates between 5,000km and 6,000km of submarine cabling.

The Asia-American Gateway (AAG)submarine cable route suffered a fault 90km from the landing station in South Lantau (Hong Kong) on 2 August, thus seriously affecting internet connections in Vietnam, news source Vietnam Net writes. According to Dinh Nhu Khoa, director of VNPT’s IDC Data Centre in the southern region, repair works are expected to take longer than usual due to the effect of the Nida storm, which is hindering the cable repair vessel from approaching the broken AAG-S11 branch.

Telefonica de Argentina (TdA) has reportedly signed a contract with state-owned telecoms infrastructure firm ARSAT to lease a 7,400km stretch of the in-deployment Federal Fibre-Optic Network (Red Federal de Fibra Optica, REFEFO), domestic news site Clarin writes, citing ARSAT CEO Rodrigo de Loredo. The contract, estimated to be worth roughly USD100 million a year, encompasses Santa Cruz, Chubut, Rio Negro, Mendoza, Neuquen, San Juan, Santiago del Estero, Chaco, Jujuy, Misiones and Buenos Aires. ARSAT currently manages around 16,000km of fibre-optics, with plans to double the network footprint within two years. The satellite operator is also re-negotiating a similar deal to rent around 8,400km to Claro Argentina, according to the report.

ICT ministers from four African nations – Algeria, Mali, Niger and Chad – have met to discuss a project to construct a trans-Saharan fibre-optic cable to boost broadband connections between the north, west and central African regions of the continent. China’s state Xinhua News Agency reports that the officials discussed ‘the natural, structural and organisational’ issues that currently prohibit the full construction of the link. According to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the 4,500km terrestrial fibre-optic cable will follow the route of the Nigeria-Algeria trans-Sahara gas pipeline. NEPAD said that the Algerian section of the network has been completed and ‘is now fully operational’; a USD340,000 feasibility study for the onward connection to Chad has been completed and a similar study for Niger ‘is estimated to be completed in 2016.’

The Kativik Regional Government of the Canadian province of Quebec has opened a tender for undertaking a feasibility study on a proposed fibre-optic submarine cable, which seeks to connect 14 communities in the Nunavik region (comprising the northern third of the Quebec province). The study will assess the optimal route for the cable. The tender documents are available from the province’s public procurement site, with the deadline for submitting bids set at 18 August.

Bhutan’s State Minister for Post and Telecommunications Tarana Halim has revealed that the Himalayan kingdom is looking to finalise a deal for the supply of additional bandwidth from Bangladesh within two months, bdnews24.com reports. The minister said that Bhutan will send a delegation to Bangladesh in November to negotiate the amount of bandwidth, price and potential route for exporting the extra capacity. TeleGeography notes that in early February 2016 the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) began exporting 10Gbps of unused bandwidth to the northeastern Indian state of Tripura, in line with a deal signed with Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in June 2015.

Alaskan telecoms provider GCI has completed a Membership Interest Purchase Agreement to acquire Kodiak Kenai Cable Company for USD20 million. Kodiak Kenai Cable Company owns the Kodiak Kenai Fiber Link (KKFL), the sole low-latency redundant fibre link between Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak. The acquisition will ensure that GCI has diverse, protected network capacity to the aforementioned markets to support its current and future broadband requirements. Closing is subject to the usual regulatory approvals.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) has inked a collaboration deal with Japan’s NTT Communications Corporation to strengthen its international coverage with 100Gbps connectivity, utilising NTT’s Tier 1 Global IP backbone. The agreement will result in ‘high-capacity IP connectivity covering Asia, North America, Europe, and Oceania’, PLDT claims. Last week, PLDT unveiled its PHP3 billion (USD63 million) data centre in Makati City, thus bringing its number of operational data centres to seven.

Lastly, Netherlands-based network provider Eurofiber has signed a contract with TenICT to upgrade and expand its IT infrastructure. TenICT will provide ‘scale-out’ architecture for a completely new ICT infrastructure at Eurofiber, based on Huawei systems. This includes server, storage and network equipment.

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