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

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28 Apr 2017

The development of the Indigo-West and Indigo-Central submarine cable projects has reached a contractually binding status, following the inking of a system supply agreement between the Indigo consortium – comprising Google, Singaporean operator Singtel Group, Aussie counterpart Telstra, AARNet, Indonesia’s Indosat Ooredoo and SubPartners – and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN). The 4,600km Indigo-West system (previously known as APX-West) will link Perth, Australia to Tuas (Singapore) and Ankol (Jakarta), while the 4,850km Indigo-Central (APX-Central) will stretch from Perth to Sydney (Australia). The new cables, which are expected to be ready for service (RFS) in Q1 2019, 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.

The government of Thailand is reportedly keen to invest in a submarine cable linking Bangkok with Hong Kong and mainland China, in an effort to transform the country into the digital hub of Southeast Asia, the Bangkok Post writes. ICT Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said that the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) is preparing a master plan aimed at bringing in foreign investors. Further, the official revealed that the cabinet has already approved THB5 billion (USD145 million) of investment for the submarine cable project, with the MDES said to be currently probing the most suitable route for the infrastructure.

The US Army Corps of Engineers has issued the final major permit needed for the deployment of the ATISA submarine fibre-optic cable system, with DOCOMO Pacific now able to proceed with the marine lay and cable shore landings of the system, the Guam Daily reports. The 280km cable will connect the unincorporated US territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) – specifically the islands of Saipan, Rota and Tinian. The ATISA cable will comprise six fibre pairs, with initial capacity of 100Gbps on the Guam-Saipan route (over three express fibre pairs) and 10Gbps on the other routes (Guam-Rota, Guam-Tinian, Rota-Tinian, Rota-Saipan and Tinian-Saipan) for total design capacity of 4.8Tbps using current technology. DOCOMO’s USD26 million investment in the project will comprise USD16 million for the construction of the cable and the backup microwave system and USD10 million within the next two years for upgrades to the fixed and mobile network on the three islands.

Spanish and Brazilian government officials have confirmed that the proposal for the construction of a fibre-optic submarine cable between the two countries has been given the go-ahead. The 9,200km-long EllaLink (previously known as EulaLink), will connect data centres in Madrid (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal) and Sao Paulo (Brazil), with branches to Fortaleza (Brazil), the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, Spain’s Canary Islands and Africa’s Cape Verde. Brazilian state-owned telecoms infrastructure provider Telebras will have a 35% stake in the cable, while Spain’s IslaLink will hold 45%; the remaining 20% will be owned by a yet-to-be identified Brazilian shareholder. As reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium in June 2015, the European Commission (EC) will invest around EUR25 million (USD28 million) in the new cable (said to have design capacity of 72Tbps) via the Building Europe Link to Latin America (BELLA) project, which was put forward by European research network DANTE and its Latin American counterpart RedCLARA. The system will be deployed by Nokia’s ASN. Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoya said that the cable ‘will reduce the time to transmit data between the two continents by 40% and will also help to improve quality, reliability and confidentiality.’

Chunghwa Telecom has revealed that the Asia-Pacific Cable Network (APCN-2) linking Taiwan to several other countries in the Asia-Pacific region could be fixed by 8 May, Taiwan News reports. The company said that the cable fault – which occurred last week – could have been caused by either fishing operations or natural corrosion. Internet traffic is currently rerouted to other backup undersea cables.

Global provider of intelligent transport networks Infinera has provided its XTM Series for Gamma’s UK dark fibre aggregation network. The development marks the completion of the first phase of Gamma’s nationwide buildout in London. The Infinera XTM Series and the EMXP packet-optical transport switch will enable Gamma to seamlessly integrate its Layer 1 transport and Layer 2 metro Ethernet functionality to gain more control and scale its network within a single platform.

Lastly, the government of Burkina Faso has embarked on the deployment of metropolitan fibre-optic networks in the country’s 13 regional capitals, according to Agence Ecofin. The rollout is part of the ‘Government Cloud’ (G-Cloud) project and is estimated to cost roughly XOF23.6 billion (USD39.2 million). Under the programme, equipment vendor Nokia will lay a total of 1,070km of fibre-optic cables, with construction work in Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Gaoua, Ziniare, Manga and Banfora set for completion by end-2017; fibre-optic deployments in the remaining seven capitals are scheduled to be finalised by end-2018.

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