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

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10 Feb 2017

Monwar Hossain, Managing Director of state-owned Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) – the company in charge of the Bangladeshi portion of the SeaMeWe-5 project – has revealed that commercial services over the new infrastructure will be launched on 21 February. The Financial Express Bangladesh writes that the cable will provide the country, which is currently connected solely to the SeaMeWe-4 system, with an additional 1500Gbps of bandwidth capacity. ‘The second undersea cable would be the real redundancy that might allow Bangladesh to stay online always and start full-fledged international bandwidth trade’, the official was cited as saying. The 20,000km SeaMeWe-5 cable, with a design capacity of 24Tbps, links a total of 17 countries – Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and France. The fibre-optic network – certified ready for service (RFS) in December 2016 – was built by Alcatel-Lucent (Sri Lanka-France deployment) and Japan’s NEC Corporation (Singapore-Sri Lanka segment).

Southern Cross Cables – which is owned by Telecom NZ (50%), Singtel-Optus (40%) and Verizon Business (10%) – has teamed up with Hong Kong-based EGS to survey the seafloor between Clovelly (Australia) and Los Angeles (US), in order to establish the most suitable route for the USD350 million NEXT submarine cable, Telecom Times writes. EGS survey vessel Geo Resolution will start work on the project later this month, tracking 12,500km of ocean floor from Clovelly to Los Angeles, while also linking up Auckland and New Zealand along the way. An EGS spokesman said the surveying contract would most likely take some six months to finalise, noting that the firm is able to draft a survey report even before returning to port. The NEXT project – slated for completion in 2019 – will interconnect with existing Southern Cross systems, as well as 15 cable station and data-centre locations currently accessible by Southern Cross Cables across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and the US. The NEXT cable is expected to provide an additional 60Tbps of capacity for customers, adding to the existing 20Tbps of capacity of the current Southern Cross systems.

The Maltese government is planning to earmark finances for the deployment of a submarine fibre-optic link between the islands of Malta and Gozo (in the Maltese archipelago), in addition to a redundant link connecting the country’s backbone network to Marseille (France), The Business Observer writes. According to Edward Woods, the executive chairman of the Malta Communications Authority (MCA), the country’s dependency on Italy for international bandwidth is not ideal, as all of Malta’s submarine links currently land in Sicily. ‘We are connected to only one country, Italy, and if anything happened there, whether it was natural, accidental or anything else, we would be stranded,’ the official said. The authority reportedly consulted with experts and was informed that a submarine fibre-optic cable between Malta and Marseille would cost approximately EUR17 million (USD18 million) – considerably less than previously thought.

Digicel Tonga has acquired a stake in Tonga Cable Limited (TCL), thus joining existing shareholders Tonga Communications Corporation (TCC) and the Government of Tonga (GoT), Matangi Tonga reports. TCL currently owns and operates an 827km submarine link between Tonga and Fiji, though the new investment would allow the company to extend the cable to outer islands, including Vava’u and Ha’apai. Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi ‘Ofakivahafolau Sovaleni said: ‘Both Digicel and TCC now have the same shares in the business, with the monies received by the GoT from the share purchase being used to extend the domestic cable in Tonga, which should see coverage and reach out to areas beyond Tongatapu and into the islands including Vava’u and Ha’apai.’

The Samoa Submarine Cable Company has commenced construction works on a landing station at Vaivase-Tui, which will host the 1,470km Tui-Samoa submarine cable. The 8Tbps network will connect Samoa, the territories of Wallis and Futuna and Vanua Levu to Suva on the Fiji mainland. In addition, the company has entered into a partnership with the Southern Cross Network.

Zayo Group Holdings has revealed that last month it began construction works on a new long haul dark fibre route between Portland and Umatilla (Oregon, US). The anchor tenant will partially fund the construction of the route, which has already seen strong demand from additional customers. The network expansion will add more than 250 route miles along the Hood River corridor in Oregon. Dennis Kyle, senior vice president, Dark Fiber Solutions, Pacific Northwest Region at Zayo, said: ‘This new network will provide our anchor customer with low-latency bandwidth along a highly strategic route, which they can “light up” as they scale. It’s not surprising given the strategic importance of this route that we already have a robust funnel of sales opportunities.’

South Africa-based telecommunications services provider Broadband Infraco will use the optical networking solutions provider Coriant´s mTera Universal Transport Platform to modernise and enhance its nationwide fibre-optic backbone network. The Coriant solution, which includes OTN switching and end-to-end network management, will enable Broadband Infraco to cost-effectively meet increasing customer demand for high-capacity services while enhancing network scalability, efficiency and reliability. To maximise utilisation of its fibre assets and expand its suite of wholesale services, Broadband Infraco will deploy the mTera UTP in major PoPs throughout its nationwide network beginning in Q1 2017.

Lastly, Carlyle Group has completed its acquisition of CMC Networks for ZAR1.4 billion (USD104 million), reports ITWeb. The transaction, which gives the Carlyle Group a majority shareholding, was first announced in November 2016. South Africa-based CMC Networks says its footprint covers 70 countries in Africa and the Middle East, and there are plans to further extend into Asia and South America.

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