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

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13 Jan 2017

Huawei Marine, the submarine division of Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer Huawei, has been contracted by the Solomon Islands government to install a fibre-optic cable linking Sydney (Australia) to Honiara (Solomon Islands), Radio New Zealand writes. Solomon Island’s finance minister Snyder Rini said an agreement will be signed this month, and work will begin in February, with a ready for service (RFS) date currently set at the middle of 2018. Mr Rini added that the cable would be jointly owned by the government’s commercial arm, the Investment Corporation of Solomon Islands, and the National Provident Fund.

Meanwhile, the Samoan government is said to be in talks with its counterparts in Tahiti (French Polynesia) and American Samoa to increase the state’s internet capabilities. Papua New Guinea Today cited Samoa’s minister of ICT Afamasaga Rico Tupa’I as saying that his country would not be solely relying on the 1,470km Tui-Samoa link, which is scheduled for completion in 2017. The official said: ‘It is important to know that we aren’t going to wait around for the connection from Fiji to complete, which is by September this year. Complacency is the enemy here, when we know that this one submarine line isn’t enough to [achieve] the standard we aim for.’ The Samoan government is reportedly aiming to finalise the project with American Samoa and Tahiti by late 2018.

Elsewhere in the Pacific, Tommy Kijiner, the general manager of the Marshall Islands National Telecommunications Authority (NTA), has revealed that following a delay in the repair of the 2,917km HANTRU1 submarine cable (owned by investment firm Hannon Armstrong, the Federated States of Micronesia Telecoms Corp and the NTA), the telecoms authority has had to purchase additional satellite bandwidth capacity. The repair of the cable was initially set for completion by 7 January, but has since been extended to 18 January due to difficulties locating the damaged section. The HANTRU1 cable – which lands in Kwajalein and Majuro (Marshall Islands) and also connects to Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia, before linking to the regional telecoms hub of Piti, Guam – was damaged on 28 December. The network, which was ready for service (RFS) in March 2010, is the Marshall Islands’ sole international submarine cable link.

The 30,500km Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) is now leveraging Ciena’s Blue Planet V-WAN to support its recently introduced Gigaflex Elastic bandwidth-on-demand capability. Ciena’s Blue Planet V-WAN connects SCCN data centres on the US West Coast (Seattle, Portland, San Jose and Los Angeles) to those in Sydney (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand), Fiji and Hawaii, thus allowing SCCN to offer a complete end-to-end connectivity solution. The trans-Pacific SCCN system comprises two submarine cables (commissioned in November 2000 and January 2001), with current potential capacity of 20Tbps. SCCN is owned by Spark New Zealand (50%), SingTel Optus (40%) and Verizon Business (10%). In addition, an in-development project – the Southern Cross NEXT – aiming to link Auckland to Los Angeles, will add a third high-capacity route to Southern Cross’ existing network eco-system.

Argentina’s state-owned telecoms infrastructure firm ARSAT has deployed more than 1,300km of fibre in the provinces of Catamarca, Chaco, La Rioja, Santa Fe and Tucuman, as part of the in-deployment Federal Fibre-Optic Network (Red Federal de Fibra Optica, REFEFO) project. The company lit a total of five routes in December 2016, namely: the 63km section linking Tucuman and Acheral (both located in Tucuman); the 163km Santa Maria (Catamarca)-Acheral link; the 280km Santa Maria-Alpasinche (La Rioja) route; the 292km Alpasinche-Patquia (La Rioja) link and the 573km Tostado (Santa Fe)-Resistencia (Chaco) network. Under the USD290 million REFEFO programme, a total of 1,300 locations throughout Argentina will benefit from a high speed fibre-optic connection.

The chairman of Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for ITC, Bakyt Sharshembiyev, has revealed that construction work on an alternative fibre-optic route linking Kyrgyzstan and China has been completed, and the line will now be tested prior to commissioning, domestic news source Tazabek writes. The Naryn-Torugart network is the second alternative route build by RTC and China Telecom, in addition to the in-operation Bishkek-Osh route. The two companies are understood to now be planning to deploy a third diverse fibre-optic route, linking Balykchy and Naryn.

Russian national operator Rostelecom has concluded a RUB324.9 million (USD5.46 million) agreement with Telecompany Huawei, a Russia-based subsidiary of Huawei. Under the agreement, Telecompany Huawei will carry out engineering works related to the deployment of fibre-optic cable connecting Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (on Russia’s Sakhalin Island) with major towns on three islands in the Southern Kurils, namely Kurilsk (on the island of Iturup), Yuzhno-Kurlisk (Kunashir Island) and Krabozavodskoye (formerly Anama) (on the isle of Shikotan, also known as Shpanberg). The work will be carried out in 2017-2018. The whole length of the DWDM line will be 1,360km, with initial capacity of 40Gbps. Rostelecom announced a tender on the issue in June 2016; the initial size of the contract totaled RUB420 million.

Madagascan fixed line incumbent Telecom Malagasy (TELMA) reportedly plans to double the footprint of its national fibre backbone to 11,000km in the next two years, L’Express de Madagascar reports, citing one of TELMA’s shareholders. The operator plans to invest up to USD250 million in the three years to 2019, with the objective of covering all cities in the country. In October 2014, TELMA completed a 2,000km northern fibre ring running from Toamasina to Mahajanga via Antsiranana.

Global high bandwidth network provider Colt will expand and enhance its 100Gbps-optimised IQ Network in Singapore and Hong Kong in 2017, as part of its plans to invest significantly in Asia over the next three years. In Singapore, these investments will fund a large-scale expansion of existing coverage, provisioning of high-bandwidth capacity and a new digging projects for Colt’s next-generation fibre. Colt’s Singapore-based initiatives are set to begin in April, with Hong Kong and other Asian cities to follow in 2017 and beyond. Colt will also augment these investments by adding key submarine cable routes to its backbone and increasing core resiliency. Further to supplying high-bandwidth metro connectivity, Colt will link businesses in Singapore and Hong Kong directly to a number of international cities, including Busan, Tokyo, Sydney, Chicago, New York, London, Frankfurt and Paris via its own intelligent global network.

An unnamed ‘major US telecommunications company’ has selected Zayo for dark fibre infrastructure between Memphis (Tennessee, US) and the greater New Orleans area (Louisiana). The solution leverages Zayo’s existing network, acquired from 360networks in December 2011, with no additional construction required. The dark fibre is part of the carrier’s upgrade to higher capacity fibre across its network. The 20-year Indefeasible Rights of Use (IRU) agreement provides the carrier with fibre along Zayo’s southeastern route.

Lastly, GTT Communications has finalised the acquisition of global telecoms solutions provider Hibernia Networks. The takeover expands 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, commented: ‘The addition of Hibernia Networks advances GTT’s growth strategy. The transaction expands GTT’s top five global IP network, adds products to our cloud networking portfolio and provides a strong recurring revenue base via established relationships with multinational clients. Our clients will also benefit from a team with deep technical expertise and a proven track record of delivering exceptional client service.’ GTT expects to complete the integration of Hibernia Networks within two to three quarters after the closing of the deal.

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