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

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19 May 2017

Southern Cross Cables – owned by Telecom NZ (50%), Singtel-Optus (40%) and Verizon (10%) – has signed letters of intent (LoIs) regarding the USD350 million NEXT submarine cable aiming to connect Clovelly (Australia) with Los Angeles (US) with seven parties to date, including three major Australasian carriers and four Pacific Islands, while discussions with other parties are also ongoing. The NEXT project 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 when completed in 2019, adding to the existing 20Tbps of capacity of the current Southern Cross systems. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Hong Kong-based EGS commenced the marine survey for the submarine link in March; around 45% of the 12,500km route is now surveyed, and with tender submissions for the system construction now closed, the project is on target for completion in 2019.

Elsewhere in the region, construction work on the Hawaiki Cable is progressing as planned, with the system on route for completion by mid-2018. The 13,127km Hawaiki Cable will connect Australia, New Zealand and the US with a number of South Pacific Islands and Hawaii, with a ready for service (RFS) date of June 2018. Cable developer Hawaiki Submarine Cable and equipment vendor TE SubCom revealed that more than 13,000km of cable has been manufactured at SubCom’s Newington facility (US), along with more than 150 competed repeaters. In addition, all installation permits for the cable landings in Australia, New Zealand and Oregon (US) have been secured, while securing the permissions in Hawaii is currently ongoing. Further, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for the cable landing in Oregon has commenced and will be completed in the coming weeks, with the first load – including 7,000km of cable – set to commence in mid-2017.

The Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1) submarine cable system has landed in Cambodia, with the shore end lay at Sihanoukville now complete. The 25,000km network – owned by a consortium of 19 global service providers – will connect Asia, the Middle East, East Africa and Europe. AAE-1 will deploy 100Gbps technology with wavelength add/drop branching units along the lowest latency route with design capacity of over 40Tbps.

DOCOMO Pacific has commenced the marine lay of the ATISA system in Guam. 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.

Turk Telekom International (TTI) and PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin) signed a SeaMeWe-5 Capacity Exchange Agreement to explore joint business opportunities and geographic synergies between two leading telecommunications companies. The agreement will facilitate Telin to land its SeaMeWe-5 capacity at Turkey Marmaris Cable Landing Station (CLS) and to extend its network coverage into Turkey, Central and Eastern European countries and the Caucasus region.

International service provider RETN has entered into an agreement with Dublin-based network solutions provider Aqua Comms to secure transatlantic capacity on Aqua Comms’ America-Europe Connect (AEConnect) subsea cable system stretching from Shirley (New York) to Killala on the West Coast of Ireland. This cooperation enables RETN to obtain additional route diversity and expand its cross-border network to North America. With more than 100Tbps of designed capacity, AEConnect is a 100G system that will support transmission capabilities of 8QAM, 16QAM and beyond. RETN CEO Tony O’Sullivan commented: ‘The integration of Aqua Comms’ AEConnect cable in our backbone allowed us to establish new low latency connectivity between New York and London, and thus significantly expand our network’s reach while ensuring the scalability and high performance necessary to meet our own business objectives as well as our clients’ needs.’ RETN owns and operates an extensive DWDM network that stretches 32,000km and provides connectivity services across three continents and 29 countries.

OTE International Solutions (OTEGlobe), the wholesale arm of OTE Group, and Hutchison Global Communications (HGC) – the fixed line arm of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings (HTHKH) – have inked an agreement to interconnect their backbone networks at OTEGlobe’s PoP in Frankfurt (Germany) and HGC’s PoP in Singapore, with other landing PoPs in major Asian cities (including Hong Kong) to be added in the future. In addition, the agreement will include connectivity over the new Asia-Africa-Europe-1 (AAE-1) cable, expected to be RFS in Q2 2017.

Chile’s Sub-Secretariat for Telecommunications (Subtel) has relaunched the country’s dormant fibre-optic project Fibra Optica Austral (shelved in October 2016), under which the government aims to deploy nearly 4,000km of fibre-optic infrastructure in the southern Patagonia region. The project fell flat last year after Conexiones y Telefonia Austral was named as the sole company to have submitted a bid for one of the four sections of the network. The Sub-Secretariat for Telecommunications (Subtel) subsequently held a number of meetings with interested parties and modified some of the terms and conditions of the tender document. Under the government’s revised terms and conditions, interested parties could set up consortiums, while the deployment time has been extended to 26 months. The tender encompasses four stretches: one 450km submarine cable linking Puerto Williams with Puerto Montt, in addition to three terrestrial connections across the Magallanes, Antartica Chilena, Aysen del General Carlos Ibanez del Camp and Los Lagos regions. The Fibra Optica Austral project will require an investment of USD100 million and is slated for completion by 2020.

Global interconnection and data centre company *Equinix*is collaborating with Stockholm-based Eastern Light for its new fibre-optic cable route in northern Europe. The new cable system stretching from Sweden (Stockholm) to Finland (Hanko, Helsinki and Kotka) is non-amplified and designed to let customers use their own equipment on their own dark fibre. Along the route, the cable will terminate in two Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres – HE6 in Helsinki and SK2 in Stockholm – which are key interconnection points for the Nordics and help facilitate the flow of global internet traffic in and out of the region. The Sweden-Finland portion of the cable is scheduled for completion in autumn 2017.

Telia Carrier has added a new high capacity route that stretches from Zurich in Switzerland to Strasbourg (France) via Basel (Switzerland), providing a shortened path and lower latency between Frankfurt (Germany) and Zurich. With the addition of a new PoP and metro fibre in Zurich, the new route provides routing options that dramatically improve performance for traffic to and from Milan (Italy) and Marseilles (France). Further, the company has expanded its presence in Italy with two new PoPs in Milan.

China Telecom Global (CTG) has announced the launch of 100G service capability via its terrestrial cable system, in collaboration with unnamed Russian operators. The initiative further diversifies CTG’s product portfolio along the Europe-Asia route, following the late-2016 launch of the CTG’s ultra-low latency terrestrial route via the China-Kazakhstan Gateway, dubbed the Super Transit Silk Road (Super TRS). The new 100G capability is strengthened by cross-border transmission systems via the China-Russia, China-Mongolia-Russia and China-Kazakhstan-Russia routes.

FiberLight has launched services over its previously introduced long-haul network, which connects areas in the Texas valley to major cities including Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas, and provides direct connectivity into pivotal south Texas data centres. FiberLight owns and manages over 1.7 million fibre miles in over 400 cities and towns across the US. It also maintains over 17,000 backbone access points, 1,700 on-net locations and presence in over 100 data centres across the country. The FiberLight network within the State of Texas spans nearly 12,000 miles.

Global connectivity provider Avelacom has launched a new PoP at AT TOKYO data centre facilities with the aim of improving low latency offerings for key financial markets in London and Tokyo. The new PoP is now connected to Avelacom’s Slough and Interxion trading hubs via its global network, in order to enable direct interaction between trading venues of the two cities. Elsewhere, SEACOM has established two new PoPs in the landlocked countries of Rwanda and Botswana, in partnership with Rwandan ISP Broadband Systems Corporation and Abari Communications of Botswana.

Lastly, Hengtong Marine Cable Systems has announced the successful completion of three separate repeatered cable sea trials in conjunction with Huawei Marine Networks. The surface lay trials were completed in 5,000m water depth, some 300 nautical miles east of Amami-O Shima (Japan), while the plough burial experiment was completed in 500m water depth. The final experiment included a power switching branching unit (PSBU), which was deployed and recovered in a water depth of 4,000m.

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