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

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20 Jan 2017

NEC Corporation has inked a contract with RTI Connectivity for the supply of a high-capacity fibre-optic submarine cable for a new system connecting Hong Kong and Guam. The 3,900km Hong Kong Guam Cable System (HK-G) is scheduled to begin operations in January 2020, and will feature 100Gbps optical transmission capabilities that deliver a total capacity of more than 48Tbps. The contract will be partially funded by capital from the Fund Corporation for the Overseas Development of Japan’s ICT and Postal Services (Japan ICT Fund). In Guam, the HK-G system will interconnect with the in-deployment Southeast Asia-US (SEA-US) submarine cable, which aims to link Southeast Asia to the US; NEC began deployment of the SEA-US system in March 2015. Toru Kawauchi, General Manager of NEC’s Submarine Network Division, said: ‘NEC is delighted to be selected as the supplier of the HK-G Submarine Cable planned by RTI Connectivity … With Guam becoming a new hub in the Pacific, we look forward to helping the RTI group of companies provide for the expanding Asia-Pacific demand for more connectivity.’

Elsewhere, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted a cable landing licence to the USD250 million SEA-US submarine cable system. The SEA-US consortium has selected CoreSite Realty Corporation’s Los Angeles Data campus for its North American access point, with the cable’s Californian landing station expected to be completed later this month. Under the tentative deployment schedule, the installation vessel is expected to arrive in Hawaii in February, following the execution of the ‘main-lay’ construction between California and Hawaii. The 15,000km SEA-US submarine cable will link Manado (Indonesia) to Los Angeles (US) via Oahu (Hawaii) and Piti (Guam), with a branch to Davao (Philippines). The cable – which is deployed by equipment vendor NEC – will provide an additional 20Tbps of capacity, connecting Indonesia and the Philippines to the US with 100Gbps technology. The SEA-US consortium comprises of Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Globe Telecom, RAM Telecom International (RTI), Hawaiian Telcom, Teleguam Holdings (GTA), GTI Corporation (a member of the Globe Telecom group of companies) and Telkom USA.

Ireland-France Subsea Cable Limited (IFSC) has entered into a partnership with Tiger Infrastructure to finance and construct the 565km Ireland-France Cable-1 (IFC-1), a fibre-optic submarine cable system directly linking Ireland and France. The transaction is expected to close following customary regulatory approvals and other conditions precedent. The IFC-1 system has been designed to extend terrestrially into Dublin (Ireland) and Paris (France) providing PoP-to-PoP connectivity and enabling long digital line segments. The system is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in Q4 2018.

Middle East submarine cable solutions provider E-marine has successfully completed the marine installation of the 260km Avassa submarine cable system, in collaboration with Huawei Marine Networks. The new infrastructure project comprised the laying of two cables, the first of which linked two locations on the Grande Comore island – Moroni to Chindini – with Anjouan (all part of the Union of Comoros), while the second network connected Anjouan with the French overseas territory of Mayotte. Comores Telecom (Comtel) and Mayotte-based carrier STOI Internet signed the construction contract with Huawei Marine in January 2016.

Hawaiki Submarine Cable has announced that equipment vendor TE SubCom has completed the route survey for the 14,000km Hawaiki transpacific cable system. SubCom has manufactured more than 4,500km of completed cable and 25 completed repeaters for the system, while production of Hawaiki branching units, which will enable the connection of American Samoa, New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga, has also commenced. Additionally, the Australian installation permits have already been issued, with additional landing permits filed in Oregon, Hawaii and New Zealand. The new cable will connect Oregon (US) with New Zealand and Sydney (Australia), and will allow for optional connectivity to Pacific islands along the route utilising TE SubCom’s optical add/drop multiplexing (OADM) nodes. Once completed, the cable will deliver more than 30Tbps of capacity via TE SubCom’s C100U+ Submarine Line Terminating Equipment (SLTE). The system is expected to be ready for service (RFS) by mid-2018.

Algeria’s telecoms minister Iman Houda Feraoun has revealed that the 560km Oran-Valencia (Orval) submarine cable linking Oran in Algeria to Valencia (Spain) – which was scheduled to be RFS in the first quarter of 2017 – will be delayed due to ‘bureaucratic burdens’, AgenceEcofin writes. The minister, however, said that despite the setback, the system will be completed in 2017. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in May 2015 the Ministry of Posts, IT and Communications (MPTIC) and equipment vendor Alcatel-Lucent (now part of Nokia) signed a turnkey agreement for the construction of the Orval fibre-optic network. The 100Gbps system will deliver an ultimate design capacity of 20Tbps when completed.

Anchorage-based Quintillion Subsea Holdings is deploying Ciena’s 8700 Packetwave Platform to support the first phase of its planned 15,000km intercontinental submarine fibre-optic system aiming to connect Europe and Asia via the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic. Phase one of the project will comprise a 1,850km segment linking the Alaskan communities of Nome and Prudhoe Bay with four branches into Kotzebue, Wainwright, Point Hope and Barrow, and will provide for future extensions to Asia and Europe. Scheduled to enter operation in 2017, phase one will incorporate advanced routing and burial techniques to protect the cable and enhance the integrity of the system. Quintillion is also utilising Ciena’s PinPoint Advanced Fibre Analytics and SLA Portal. These advanced software capabilities will use the data captured by Ciena’s unified management software, which provides customisable network monitoring to improve network reliability and add protection and quality assurance for end users.

Telia Carrier has established a new 900km route stretching from Stockholm (Sweden) to St. Petersburg (Russia) via Tallinn (Estonia), while also upgrading multiple submarine cables to future proof its network, bringing lower latency and additional capacity. The new route further diversifies the wholesale carrier’s global IP backbone AS1299 while also enabling Telia Carrier to provide 100G+ services to carriers, content and cloud providers in the Baltics, Russia and beyond. Further, Telia’s subsea cables reaching across the Baltic Sea have been upgraded using coherent Flex-Grid technology allowing Telia Carrier to offer 100G, and future 150G and 200G services leveraging the latest modulation formats. Telia Carrier’s global fibre backbone has grown organically and is 100G-enabled in both Europe and North America. The company markets worldwide connectivity via more than 200 PoPs across Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East.

Ericsson and Telstra have successfully demonstrated the ability to encrypt data securely while in transit between Los Angeles and Melbourne at 10Gbps, using Ciena’s ultra-low latency 10G wire-speed encryption solution. Going forward, the trio of companies are planning to demonstrate 100Gbps encryption between the two locations in the first half of 2017.

Wholesale carriers Caucasus Online and Sofia Connect have announced the strengthening of their commercial and technical collaboration in regards to the Caucasus Cable System, a 1,200km submarine cable across the Black Sea which forms the backbone of a unique route between Europe and the Middle East. The bilateral agreement has a global scope and will also enable the development of new routes reaching further into Asia. By combining Sofia Connect’s pan-European network – which was recently extended across the Atlantic Ocean to ten PoPs across the US from New York City to Los Angeles – with Caucasus Online’s fibre assets, the two companies can provide connectivity between Western internet hubs and large parts of the Middle East, evading all the major conflict zones, and bypassing the critical submarine cable route traversing the Red Sea, Egypt and the Mediterranean, which has suffered many outages in the past.

US-based Conterra Ultra Broadband Holdings has announced the takeover of two regional broadband businesses – Louisiana-based Detel and North Carolina’s Broadplex – thus expanding its fibre footprint to more than 6,200 route miles and 355,000 fibre miles. Conterra now provides lit and dark fibre network services in seven primary states of the US, namely: North Carolina (Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Asheville), Tennessee (Richmond, Virginia and Nashville), Texas (Fort Worth, San Antonio, El Paso and Tyler), Louisiana (Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Monroe and Shreveport), Arizona (Tucson), New Mexico (Albuquerque and Las Cruces) and California (San Francisco, Fresno, Oakland and San Bernardino). The combined fibre network infrastructure will also expand Conterra’s Near-Net customer opportunities by nearly 5,000 enterprises, multi-tenant buildings, state/local government agencies and additional wireless carrier towers.

Finally, infrastructure group Crown Castle International has revealed that it has completed its acquisition of * FPL FiberNet Holdings* and certain other subsidiaries of NextEra Energy (collectively, FiberNet). TeleGeography notes that Crown Castle International entered into a definitive agreement to acquire FiberNet for approximately USD1.5 billion in cash in November 2016. FiberNet owns and/or has rights over approximately 11,500 route miles of fibre installed and under construction in Florida and Texas, inclusive of approximately 6,000 route miles of fibre in top metro markets, thus bringing Crown Castle’s total footprint to approximately 28,500 route miles of fibre.

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