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

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6 Jan 2017

Ooredoo Maldives has revealed that it has inaugurated its 1,200km Domestic Submarine Cable System linking the six main islands in the Maldives, following the landing of the cable at its final landing station in Kulhudhuffushi. The USD25 million submarine network – which has six landing stations, situated in Hithadhoo, Thinadhoo, Hulhumale, Kolhufushi, Eydhafushi and Kulhudhuffushi – leverages 100Gbps technology and has a design capacity of 3.2Tbps; the network was deployed by Huawei Marine. TeleGeography notes that the Maldives is currently served by three submarine cable networks, namely: Dhiraagu Cable Network (which connects the nation’s main atolls), WARF Submarine Cable (which provides onward connectivity from the Maldives to Sri Lanka and India) and the Maldives-India Dhiraagu-SLT Submarine Cable Network.

The UK government has reportedly agreed to grant nearly GBP5 million (USD6.17 million) to the British overseas territory of Montserrat – which is part of the Lesser Antilles chain – in order to help fund broadband expansion including the rollout of submarine fibre-optic cabling to the tiny Caribbean island. The project, scheduled to be completed next year, promises to provide the island’s 4,900 occupants with access to a superfast broadband network. The submarine cable is expected to connect Montserrat with the nearby islands of Antigua and Saint Kitts and Nevis. At present, Montserrat relies on ‘a precarious and expensive’ microwave link with Antigua, UK’s Department for International Development said. Montserrat had previously been hooked up to an undersea branch of the 1,730km Eastern Caribbean Fibre System (ECFS), though the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano in 1997 destroyed the connection.

Emdadul Haque, general secretary of the Internet Service Providers’ Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), has revealed that internet services in Bangladesh would be restored by 20 January, following cuts and disconnections in a number of fibre-optic systems, The Daily Star writes. The 121 Media cable, owned by Bharti Airtel, has been down since 13 December 2016 due to a fibre cut, while another Indian cable, of Tata Indicom Cable, went down on 4 January. Further, the IMEWE system – an ultra-high capacity fibre-optic cable that links India and Europe via Middle East – has also been disrupted. Mr Haque claimed that maintenance work for the IMEWE and 121 Media systems would be completed by 20 January.

TELE-POST Greenland has disclosed that its internet services were suffering a slowdown following a cable cut at one of its suppliers in Canada. The operator added that the fault was not on its own network, or its submarine cable Greenland Connect. TELE also revealed that services are being re-directed via Iceland.

Bala Malladi, CEO of Indian ISP ACT Fibernet, has disclosed that his company is replacing the entire network of cables spanning over 2,200km in the city of Bangalore, following the destruction caused by cyclone Vardah in Chennai. In an interview with BusinessLine, Malladi revealed that roughly 85% of the network would be operational by 6 January.

Finally, Oak Hill Capital Partners has completed the acquisition of Oxford Networks, a leading fibre-optic bandwidth infrastructure services provider operating in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, from its current private equity owners – Novacap and Bank Street Capital Partners (BSCP). Oak Hill has now combined the operations of Oxford with North-eastern US fibre provider FirstLight Fiber, which it acquired from Riverside Partners in September 2016. The merged companies now operate approximately 5,000 route miles of high-capacity fibre-optic network in the North-east, in addition to ten data centres in major markets across New York and New England. Novacap, BSCP and Riverside will remain as minority partners alongside Oak Hill in the holding company for FirstLight and Oxford. Going forward, Oak Hill intends to combine the operations of FirstLight Fiber with US-based fibre provider Sovernet Communications, which it agreed to acquire in August 2016. The deal is expected to close in early 2017, and will extend FirstLight Fiber’s reach further west into Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester (New York), while also adding a data centre in Burlington (Vermont).

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