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

21 Oct 2016

TE SubCom has been revealed as the system supply partner for the MAREA submarine cable which will be deployed across the Atlantic Ocean. TE SubCom has completed the route survey and commenced manufacture of the system at its facility in Newington, New Hampshire. The laying of the cable will commence next year, with a scheduled completion date of October 2017. The 6,605km MAREA subsea system – featuring eight fibre-pairs and an initial estimated design capacity of 160Tbps – will link Virginia Beach (US) with Bilbao (Spain) in Q1 2018 and will be owned and operated 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). The US landing station will be owned by Edge USA (25%), Microsoft (25%) and TIWS (50%); Microsoft will serve as the landing partner.

Singapore-based Super Sea Cable Networks has started construction work on the SEA Cable Exchange-1 (SeaX-1) submarine cable, which will connect Mersing in Malaysia with Changi (Singapore) and Batam (Indonesia). The 250km system – which is being constructed by Huawei Marine Networks – will comprise 24-fibre pairs and is scheduled for completion by end-2017. The system will be wholly-owned by Super Sea Cable Networks, which has a licence for facilities-based operations (FBO) in Singapore; the landing in Malaysia will be supported by telecoms infrastructure provider SACOFA, while its Indonesian affiliate Super Sistem Ultima will oversee the Indonesian portion of the project. The project will comprise three stages, scheduled to be in development until 2021. The first phase will connect Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, while the second stage will connect Singapore to the US via Guam. The final phase of the project will connect a number of Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Pan-African telecommunications operator SEACOM has revealed that a shunt fault – damaging the insulation of its undersea cable – has occurred in the Mediterranean Sea between Egypt and France. SEACOM explained: ‘To repair this shunt fault, a service-affecting planned activity has been scheduled from 19 October to 28 October 2016 … A repair vessel has been mobilised and will reach the fault location by 19 October. Due to the nature of the activity, which largely depends on weather and other sea conditions, the planned work window may vary.’ SEACOM said that its traffic would be routed via the West African Cable System (WACS) and the company’s network to its Asia gateways.

A senior official at the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) has revealed that internet traffic in Bangladesh may be disrupted for five days until 27 October 2016 due to scheduled maintenance work on the SeaMeWe-4 submarine cable, bdnews24.com reports. The maintenance work will involve the replacement of a repeater near Singapore. While the company has ensured that most of the traffic would be routed via terrestrial links, internet outages are expected on 23 October and 27 October.

In similar news, Syria’s incumbent telco has reportedly announced that the country’s broadband connections will be down for ten days until 28 October. Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE) has attributed the outage to ‘submarine cable repairs’ on international service lines.

The government of Cote d’Ivoire has awarded contracts for the deployment of the three remaining stages of the National Broadband Network, Reseau National Haut Debit (RNHD) backbone to Bouygues, Cegelec Morocco and Sagemcom, following an international tender which commenced last year. Agence Ecofin writes that a total of XAF100 billion (USD167.4 million) has been earmarked for the three sections of the fibre-optic networks spanning a total of 5,000km, and construction work – which is expected to take 18 months – is scheduled to commence by the end of 2016. The RNHD will ultimately stretch 7,000km, and will link all prefectures and sub-prefectures in Cote d’Ivoire. The RNHD project will consist of five deployment phases: the first stage of the programme (launched in July 2012 and expected to be completed ‘shortly’) will see the deployment of a 1,400km network from San Pedro to Ferkessedougou via Tabou, Man, Odienne and Korhogo. The second phase, which was completed at the end of 2015, comprised 622km of fibre connecting Grand Bassam and Abidjan in the south east with the northeastern town of Bouna via Azaguie, Akoupe, Abengourou, Agnibilekro, Tanda and Bondoukou.

Cisco has revealed that it is currently rebuilding the Iraqi National Backbone, a multi-layer IP and optical network that spans from Iraq to Turkey. News source indiainfoline.com reports that the terrestrial route from the Kurdistan region of Iraq to Europe via Turkey will include new long-haul routes to most of the major cities throughout Iraq. The in-deployment network – which is a joint venture between Symphony and EarthLink JLT – will be commercially lit in March 2017.

Telecom Egypt (TE) is deploying Ciena’s GeoMesh solution and packet-optical platforms for reliable, low-latency connectivity on its national terrestrial network and submarine links between the Mediterranean and Asia. The operator connects more than seventeen cable systems through seven diversified routes and five landing stations across Egypt. Ciena’s GeoMesh will allow Telecom Egypt to proactively resolve unexpected issues and maintain network reliability.

Chinese vendor Huawei has reportedly commenced work on a 307km fibre-optic network from Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou to the Ghanaian border, via the town of Po, Agence Ecofin reports. The backbone network will connect ten towns, namely Koubri, Kombissiri, Toece, Nobere, Po, Guiba, Manga, Gogo, Gon-Boussougou and Bagre. The XAF4.8 billion (USD8 million) deployment is part of Burkina Faso’s component of the WARCIP project. Once fully completed, 5,445km nationwide fibre-optic backbone with a presence in 45 towns and 85 ‘communes’.

US telco Windstream is expanding its long-haul express fibre transport network throughout the western part of the country with approximately 4,800 route miles, using Infinera’s DTN-X platform. In the first phase of this project, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016, Windstream will add four major markets to its 100G long-haul network, namely Salt Lake City, Reno, Las Vegas and the Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay Area. The second phase of the project – expected to be finalised by the end of 2017 – will add three 100G routes (Bay Area-Los Angeles, Los Angeles-Phoenix, and Phoenix-El Paso). Windstream currently operates a fibre-optic network spanning 125,000 miles, with access to over 1,200 10G PoPs in 800 cities.

Elsewhere in the US, FiberLight will officially inaugurate 100G long-haul connectivity between its metro networks on 15 November. Business and wholesale customers will be able to get access to direct hubs in six major metro markets – Ashburn, Virginia, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, and Washington, DC – while providing additional connectivity into several other networks in Texas, including Houston and Austin. The diverse 100G backbone network ring also provides interconnection between various markets and submarine landing points.

ZTE Corporation has completed a 100G optical transport network (OTN) upgrade project for Telefonica Moviles Mexico (TMM). The 100G OTN has been deployed across six sites in the capital of Queretaro (Mexico).

Lastly, Menara Networks upgraded Brazilian telco Algar Telecom’s IPoDWDM network to 100Gbps using its Full C-Band Tunable 100G CFP platform.

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