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

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11 Nov 2016

Finnish operator Cinia Group – which owns the 1,175km C-Lion1 system between Helsinki (Sweden) and Rostock (Germany) – is in discussions with Russian company Polarnet Project to invest in the long-dormant trans-Arctic fibre-optic network Russian Fibre Optical Trans-Arctic Cable System (RFOTACS), writes. Polarnet Project expects that construction work on the RFOTACS system will commence in 2017, with total costs estimated at USD700 million-USD800 million. US-based TE SubCom was awarded a contract to implement the fibre-optic system in 2012, although the strained relations between Russia and the US were cited as the reason behind the lack of progress. When completed, the system will connect Bude (UK) to Tokyo (Japan) via Murmansk (Anadyr) and Vladivostok (Russia).

British wholesale provider Interoute has revealed that it will offer dual entry into Europe through France and Italy via the in-deployment SeaMeWe-5 submarine system. Interoute will connect digital traffic from Africa, Asia and the Middle East via its PoP in Marseilles (France) and via the Open Hub Med (OHM) Data Centre in Palermo (Sicily), to its pan European network. The 20,000km SeaMeWe-5 link, which has a design capacity of 24Tbps, will ultimately link a total of 17 countries – Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and France.

Silica Networks, an Argentinian company owned by Datco Group, has signed a strategic agreement with regional providers REFSA Telecomunicaciones, Marandu and Ecom for the deployment of a fibre-optic network linking Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Silica said the public-private initiative will serve to improve the availability, quality and cost of broadband services for users located in the Argentinian regions of Formosa, Misiones and Chaco. The interconnection and cable expansion deal will ultimately create a 15,000km fibre-optic network stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Going forward, the Brazil-Argentina-Chile network will be connected to the proposed eulaLink submarine cable, which will link Lisbon (Portugal) with Fortaleza (Brazil) in 2017.

US-based service provider Global Capacity has expanded its backbone network, dubbed One Marketplace, with high speed Ethernet access utilising Ciena’s 8700 Packetwave Platform. The expanded backbone infrastructure will interconnect eleven PoPs in San Jose, Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Ashburn and New York City, improving One Marketplace access for both customers and suppliers. The new backbone technology will provide latency improvements, transform the operational economics of Gigabit services and create greater cost efficiencies across the network, the company notes.

Telia Carrier, the global arm of Telia Company (formerly TeliaSonera), has established a new PoP in Zagreb (Croatia). The new PoP allows Telia Carrier to expand the reach of its top-two ranked global IP backbone AS1299 to Croatia and adjacent countries. Telia Carrier’s global fibre backbone has grown organically and is 100G-enabled in both Europe and North America. The company enables worldwide connectivity via more than 200 PoPs across Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East.

GTT Communications has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Hibernia Networks, which connects over 220 PoPs worldwide. The USD590 million transaction consists of USD515 million in cash and approximately 3.3 million shares of GTT common stock (valued at USD75 million), to be issued to the sellers at closing. The takeover will expand GTT’s global Tier 1 IP network with owned and leased dark fibre assets, plus five owned subsea cables – including the transatlantic Hibernia Express system, which has a design capacity of 53Tbps – and eight submarine cable landing stations. Rick Calder, GTT president and CEO, added: ‘This acquisition accelerates GTT’s growth strategy by expanding our portfolio of cloud networking services, significantly increasing the scope and power of our global network, and growing our multinational client base.’ The parties expect to close the transaction by the end of first quarter 2017, subject to certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The Bank Street Group LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to Hibernia Networks.

BICS, a global wholesale carrier for voice, mobile data and capacity services, has announced the establishment of a new PoP in Nairobi, Kenya, augmenting its existing African PoPs in Johannesburg, Djibouti and Mauritius. BICS said the expansion is in recognition of the uptick in demand and the potential for future growth of connectivity in the region, while also noting that the addition of the Kenya PoP will support the drive to keep voice and data traffic within the continent, rather than routing it via Europe.

CenturyLink says it has agreed sell its data centres and colocation business to funds advised by BC Partners, in a consortium that also includes Medina Capital Advisors and Longview Asset Management. CenturyLink will receive USD2.15 billion in cash, subject to offsets for capital lease obligations and various working capital and other adjustments. It also will retain a minority stake worth USD150 million in the new company. The Tier 1 service provider will use the USD2.15 billion to partly fund its acquisition of Level 3 Communications, which was announced last week.

Finally, US-based Lumos Networks has agreed to acquire fibre-optic provider Clarity Communications for an undisclosed sum. Clarity operates a 730 mile fibre network across four states in the south-eastern US, with the majority of Clarity’s operations and fibre mileage located in the state of North Carolina. For its part, Lumos offers end-to-end connectivity in 24 markets in Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and Kentucky. It has a fibre-optic network spanning 9,204 fibre route miles and 475,507 total fibre strand miles, connecting 36 data centres, including seven company owned co-location facilities, 1,984 on-net buildings and approximately 3,300 total on-net locations. Timothy Biltz, CEO of Lumos Networks, said: ‘Clarity, led by founders Todd Peverall and Andy Carwile, gives us an instant foothold within the Carrier and Enterprise verticals in many high growth North Carolina markets, and gives us a new sales channel into various government end markets, including military installations and e-rate [the Schools and Libraries programme of the Universal Service Fund]. Clarity will be a contributing factor in Lumos achieving the necessary scale needed to become a pure play fibre bandwidth infrastructure company.’

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