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

27 Jan 2017

Djibouti Telecom has announced that it will invest in a new direct submarine link connecting Australia, the Middle East and Africa, following the inking of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the infrastructure owner GoTo Networks. The 10,100km Australia West Express (AWE) will span the Indian Ocean, connecting Perth in Australia and Djibouti in north-east Africa, with onward connectivity to provide an entirely new lower latency route to Europe. The two-fibre pair system is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) by the end of Q4 2018, and will have an ultimate design capacity of 20Tbps. Under the agreement, Djibouti Telecom will act as the local landing party for the AWE system, while also purchasing additional capacity over the network. In addition, Djibouti Telecom will interconnect the system with other submarine cables landing in Djibouti City, including Europe India Gateway (EIG), SEACOM, Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy), SeaMeWe-3, Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1) and SeaMeWe-5.

The completion of the Tasman Global Access (TGA) undersea cable has been delayed by three months, and is now expected to be RFS by the end of March 2017, stuff.co.nz writes. The postponement is due to damage sustained by the plough of cable-laying ship Ile de Re, which had to return to Nelson (New Zealand) for repairs. The 2,300km direct link between Raglan (New Zealand) and Narrabeen Beach (Australia) will incorporate two fibre pairs with a current design capacity of 20Tbps. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, the TGA consortium – comprising Spark New Zealand (formerly Telecom New Zealand), Telstra and Vodafone – awarded the TGA deployment contract to Paris-based equipment vendor Alcatel-Lucent (now part of Nokia) in January 2015. The new system will provide an alternative path for trans-Tasman traffic – currently routed via Tasman-2 and Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) – and is expected to significantly improve New Zealand’s international connectivity options.

Elsewhere in New Zealand, Auckland-based Hawaiki Submarine Cable has welcomed the announcement that the New Zealand’s government is planning to roll out broadband access to more than 150 additional towns all across the country, following a decision to allocate an additional NZD300 million (USD218 million) to the next stage of the nationwide Ultrafast Fibre Broadband (UFB) network. Remi Galasso, CEO of Hawaiki Submarine Cable, said: ‘The ultrafast broadband infrastructure commitment by the government is critical for New Zealand’s business, scientific and educational sectors in today’s fast moving, globally connected world … It is entirely consistent with the Hawaiki Submarine Cable project which will provide New Zealand with faster, more secure, cheaper and much greater capacity to connect to the world.’ The 14,000km Hawaiki 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 RFS by mid-2018.

The Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) submarine cable network, connecting nine Asian nations – Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand – has now been repaired and is back in service, Vietnam Plus writes. The 10,4000km system – which was certified RFS in November 2016 – suffered problems shortly after its launch, in late December, resulting in its shutdown in mid-January, along two other systems serving the region, the Asia America Gateway (AAG) and Intra Asia (IA). According to VNPT Vinaphone, the APG cable was repaired on Wednesday, while the AAG system linking Vietnam with Hong Kong and the US is back up to 80% of its capacity, and is expected to be fully operational by 29 January. It is not clear when the disruption to the IA undersea cable – linking Vietnam to Hong Kong and other parts of Asia – will be fixed.

The Marshall Islands’ sole international submarine cable link – the 2,917km HANTRU1 submarine cable – is back in service, following the completion of repair work that lasted more than three weeks. The repair of the cable was initially set for completion by 7 January, but was subsequently delayed until 18 January due to difficulties experienced when locating the damaged section, thus forcing the NTA to revert to using satellite bandwidth capacity. 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 cable is owned by investment firm Hannon Armstrong, the Federated States of Micronesia Telecoms Corp and the Marshall Islands National Telecommunications Authority (NTA).

International service provider RETN has deployed Infinera’s Cloud Xpress platform over its regional fibre network connecting Frankfurt and Munich (Germany) with Vienna (Austria). RETN operates a backbone that stretches over 32,000km and connects 29 countries across Europe, Asia and North America. The network runs on Infinera’s Intelligent Transport Networks platforms, including the DTN-X, with the latest upgrade providing 100Gbps DWDM capabilities to two of its routes in Western Europe.

Finally, US-based Wave Broadband has acquired data connectivity provider Cascade Networks, which serves businesses in the northwest US (Washington and Oregon). The deal adds over 350 route miles of fibre to Wave’s growing West Coast network, in addition to providing Wave with a colocation facility in Longview (Washington). Cascade CEO Brian Magnuson said: ‘Attaching our network with Wave’s 6,000+ miles of fibre and being able to leverage their extensive technical and business support infrastructure will give our customers access to even more resources to help their businesses thrive. And our residential customers will continue to enjoy the services they have always received, now with the support of a larger company that can easily scale as we grow.’ Wave’s fibre-optic network currently connects customers in California, Oregon and Washington.

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