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

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7 Apr 2017

Asian dark fibre and Ethernet provider Superloop has agreed to acquire the Australian submarine cable construction company SubPartners for USD2.5 million in shares, thus gaining participation in the deployment of a new submarine cable connecting existing cable landing facilities in Australia and southeast Asia. The Indigo consortium – comprising Google, Singaporean operator Singtel Group, Aussie counterpart Telstra, AARNet, Indonesia’s Indosat Ooredoo and SubPartners – contracted Nokia’s Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) to deploy the 9,000km system, which is expected to be ready for service (RFS) by mid-2019. The Indigo cable combines the previously announced APX-West system (Perth, Australia to Singapore) and APX-Central (Perth to Sydney, Australia). The new cable will use a two-fibre pair ‘open cable’ design with spectrum-sharing technology, thus giving consortium members the ability to independently take advantage of technology advancements and future system upgrades as required. Each of the two fibre pairs will have a minimum capacity of 18Tbps, with the option to increase this capacity in the future. Following the acquisition of SubPartners (subject to shareholder approval), Superloop has allocated capital expenditure in relation to the Indigo system amounting to between USD35 million and USD37 million in the period 2017-2020. SubPartners is also responsible for the procurement, provision, operation and maintenance of the shore end infrastructure for Indigo-Central in Sydney and will receive fees of approximately USD5.3 million from the Indigo consortium over the period 2017-18.

Seaborn Networks and investment firm Grupo Werthein de Argentina have signed a binding agreement to deploy a new submarine fibre-optic cable connecting Argentina with Brazil. The ARBR system will provide direct onward connectivity to North America via the Seabras-1 network, which connects Praia Grande (Brazil) to New York (US). The Argentinian landing station for the ARBR cable is expected to be in or near Las Toninas. The ARBR system will comprise four fibre pairs with an initial maximum design capacity of 48Tbps; the cable is expected to be RFS in the second half of 2018. TeleGeography notes that Werthein currently has a 32% minority stake in Sofora Telecommunicaciones, itself an indirect owner of Telecom Argentina, though it plans to offload the interest to its partner Fintech, leaving the latter in full control of the holding company.

Construction work on the 560km Oran-Valencia (Orval) submarine cable linking Oran in Algeria to Valencia (Spain) was completed on 31 March, daily newspaper Levante El Mercantil Valenciano writes. The system was initially scheduled to be RFS in October 2016, but was subsequently delayed due to ‘bureaucratic burdens’. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, 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 in May 2015. The 100Gbps system will deliver an ultimate design capacity of 20Tbps when it enters commercial services.

Hexatronic Cables & Interconnect Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hexatronic Group, has secured orders for delivering fibre-optic cables for a total of six projects spread over five different countries. The total order value amounts to SEK25 million (USD2.7 million). The main part of the delivery is planned for the autumn of 2017.

US-based fibre-optic provider FirstLight Fiber and its Canadian counterpart f6networks have expanded their partnership by providing lit services to customers who have both a US and Canadian presence. f6networks operates a high capacity transport network spanning more than 1,500km across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, connecting to Quebec and Northeast US. FirstLight, meanwhile, owns and operates 9,600 route miles of fibre and more than 5,000 lit locations, with access to 20,000 near net locations, in six states with connectivity to Montreal (Canada). Kurt Van Wagenen, President and CEO of FirstLight, said: ‘Coupled with our recent acquisitions of Oxford Networks and Sovernet Communications, the relationship with f6networks further enhances our capabilities to the benefit of our customers.’

Lastly, Telia Carrier has opened a new route on its US fibre-optic network between New York City and Chicago. The express route uses coherent 100G-ready equipment and modulation formats to provide fast delivery and service turn-up. The new route also improves the efficiency of existing routes, including New York-San Francisco and New York-Denver, Telia Carrier says.

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