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

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23 Dec 2016

Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel has reached an agreement with Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT) to acquire 100% of its cable subsidiary MENA Submarine Cable Systems (MENA-SCS), via the Networks i2i unit. The deal is subject to approval by the Egyptian regulatory authorities and is expected to close in Q1 2017. MENA-SCS owns five fibre pairs on the 8,100km MENA Cable, which lands in Italy, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt and India, in addition to a 930km of terrestrial cable crossing Egypt in two redundant routes. Bharti Airtel said the acquisition will strengthen its capacity to provide broadband internet connectivity in 18 markets in the Middle East and Africa.

Trident Subsea Cable has signed an agreement with Indonesian submarine cable company Triasmitra to own and operate a two-pair submarine and terrestrial cable system connecting Singapore with Jakarta (Indonesia), which is scheduled to be RFS by April 2017. The 1,070km fibre-optic cable will also represent Stage 1 of the carrier-neutral Trident Subsea Cable system aiming to connect the west coast of Australia with Singapore via Indonesia, and will utilise Triasmitra’s existing Jakarta-Bangka-Batam-Singapore (B2JS) cable system (also known as Palapa Ring Barat 1). Trident claims to have already secured capacity sales of more than USD20 million for the route. The Trident Subsea Cable – scheduled to be RFS in 2Q18 – will stretch from Perth to Onslow (both Australia) with an onward branch to Indonesia/Singapore and will have a bandwidth of 28Tbps, utilising 100Gbps coherent DWDM technology, upgradeable to 400Gbps.

Huawei Marine and TELE Greenland will jointly deploy a new 100G network along the Greenlandic coast, in addition to undertaking a capacity upgrade of the existing Greenland Connect submarine cable linking the country with Iceland and Canada. The Greenland Connect North network will have landing stations in Nuuk, Maniitsoq, Sisimiut and Aasiaat, with a total design capacity of 4.8Tbps. TeleGeography notes that Greenland is currently served by a sole network, the 4,600km Greenland Connect cable. The USD122 million system (deployed by Alcatel-Lucent) was lit in March 2009 with initial capacity of 10Gbps for each of the two fibre-optic pairs. Huawei will upgrade the capacity of the system to 12.8Tbps (from the current 1.92Tbps).

Nexans will supply nearly 6,000km of its submarine repeatered optical cables (ROC) to Huawei Marine Networks for the in-deployment South Atlantic Inter Link (SAIL) system aiming to link Kribi (Cameroon) with Fortaleza (Brazil). The cables will be manufactured and tested at Nexans’ Rognan factory in Norway, with contract delivery scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017. The 5,900km SAIL system – expected to be RFS in 2018 – represents Stage II of Cameroon’s National Broadband Network (NBN) project. Previously, the two companies teamed up in 2015 under Phase I of the NBN, which saw the deployment of the Nigeria-Cameroon submarine cable system (NCSCS).

Finnish operator Cinia Group Oy and investment group C-Fiber Hanko have signed a cooperation deal to enable the construction of a branch from Cinia’s 1,175km C-Lion1 system between Helsinki (Sweden) and Rostock (Germany) to Hanko, which is situated on the south coast of Finland. The partners in C-Fiber Hanko are Tammisaaren Energia, Karjaan Puhelin, Raasepori Savings Bank, N3M Group, the Port of Hanko, Tammisaari Savings Bank, XLT-Systems and private investor Bjorn Siggberg. C-Fiber Hanko will invest EUR3 million (USD3.13 million) in the construction of the new branch, which is scheduled to be operational in the first half of 2018.

SK Telecom has selected Coriant’s submarine solution to extend 100G connectivity to Ulleungdo Island, which lies off the east coast of Korea, thus increasing long haul DWDM capacity to the island by using the same technology deployed over its nationwide terrestrial DCM-free 100G network. The Coriant unrepeatered submarine network solution will support resilient, low latency 100G coherent optical transmission over a distance of more than 250km.

The Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) – a member of the SeaMeWe-5 consortium – will start offering services over the new submarine cable in February 2017, The Daily Star writes. While construction work of the fibre-optic network was completed earlier this month, state-owned Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) failed to establish an onward terrestrial link from the landing station in Kuakata to Barisal.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has awarded a total of EUR43.9 million (USD45.8 million) – a EUR31.4 million loan and a EUR12.5 million grant – to support the deployment of Niger’s portion of the Trans-Saharan Backbone network. The project aims to link Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Algeria (stage one) and Mali (stage two), while also strengthening interconnection with Benin and Burkina Faso. The proposed fibre-optic cable will follow the route of the Algeria-Nigeria-Chad Trans-Saharan Road (Route Trans Saharienne, RTS), with 1,007km of fibre-optic cabling in Niger – from Assamaka (Algeria) to Tinkim (Nigeria) via the Arlit-Agadez-Tanout-Zinder route, with a branch from Zinder to N’Guigmi (Niger) via Goure-Maine-Oiffa – and 503km in Chad (Daboua-Rigrig-Mao-N’gouri-Massakory-Massaguet).

Lastly, Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has inaugurated a metro area network (MAN) in the capital Bujumbura, domestic news source reports. The fibre-optic link will be subsequently extended to the municipalities of Ngozi and Gitega, in the northern and central provinces of the country. The government awarded the deployment project to regional network provider Onatel and equipment vendor Huawei in October 2014.

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