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

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2 Jun 2017

Mauritius-based IOX Cable Ltd and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), part of Nokia, have confirmed that they have signed a turnkey agreement for the deployment of the 8,850km IOX Cable System. The submarine cable will link South Africa with India, via landings in Mauritius and the autonomous outer island of Rodrigues. Providing an ultimate design capacity of over 13TBps per fibre pair, the system seeks to reinforce Mauritius’s reputation as a communications hub.

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved USD36 million in grants to help provide reliable fibre-optic broadband connectivity to approximately 80,000 people in Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The funding consists of USD20.0 million for Kiribati and USD16.26 million for the FSM, and will finance the installation of a submarine cable system connecting Tarawa (Kiribati) to Nauru, and Kosrae state (FSM) to Pohnpei state (FSM). The Asian Development Bank is preparing finance to support Nauru’s participation in the cable system, meanwhile. The World Bank notes that the projects are part of the Pacific Regional Connectivity Programme.

Malaysian telecoms firm TIME dotCom has confirmed that it plans to acquire a stake of up to 49% in Thailand’s Symphony Communication Public Co Ltd (SYMC), which provides Metro Ethernet connectivity in the Bangkok Metropolitan area. TIME commander-in-chief Afzal Abdul Rahim commented: ‘The proposed SYMC investment, which should be completed before the end of 2017, is expected to further enhance the group’s network footprint in Thailand upon completion.’ The deal is valued at THB2.2 billion (USD64.5 million). The acquisition of Symphony represents TIME’s second investment in Thailand, following the acquisition of a stake in KIRZ Company in 2015. TIME also currently holds a 45.27% stake in CMC Telecommunications Infrastructure Corporation, a fast expanding network and data centre operator in Vietnam, and is nearing rollout completion of a pan-island fibre-optic network in Singapore.

Pan-African telecom operator SEACOM is looking to invest in last-mile fibre assets in Africa that access significant populations of end-users, chief development officer Suveer Ramdhani has informed ITWeb. The executive commented: ‘We are looking to expand regionally by acquiring companies that have made progress in this field and that may benefit from being part of a big family.’

In Australia, the Sunshine Coast Council is funding a feasibility study for its proposal to land a submarine cable in the region. Late last week the council released an invitation to tender for the study into the proposed cable, which forms part of its 20-year economic strategy for the region. The intention is to have a study completed by the end of August this year. The tender document states: ‘The Sunshine Coast is ideally placed to land a new international submarine cable by virtue of its proximity to Asia and distance from Sydney’.

Telecomunicaciones de Mexico (Telecomm) is preparing to submit a proposal to the Federal Telecommunications Institute (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones, IFT) to gain permission to use its fibres for voice or broadband data. Telecomm has asked for expressions of interest (EoI) by 9 June, in order to help it define its operating model. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Telecomm assumed control of all fibre-optic rights of way, towers, poles, buildings and facilities from the Federal Electricity Commission (Comision Federal de Electricidad, CFE) back in December 2014.

The government of Niger has reportedly ratified a loan agreement worth XOF15 billion (USD25.7 million) to bankroll the country’s participation in the Trans-Saharan Backbone network rollout. The project aims to link Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Algeria (stage one) and Mali (stage two), while also strengthening interconnection with Benin and Burkina Faso. The proposed fibre-optic cable will follow the route of the Algeria-Nigeria-Chad Trans-Saharan Road (Route Trans Saharienne, RTS), with 1,007km of fibre-optic cabling in Niger – from Assamaka (Algeria) to Tinkim (Nigeria) via the Arlit-Agadez-Tanout-Zinder route, with a branch from Zinder to N’Guigmi (Niger) via Goure-Maine-Oiffa – and 503km in Chad (Daboua-Rigrig-Mao-N’gouri-Massakory-Massaguet).

Finally, Texas-based bandwidth infrastructure services provider LOGIX Communications has announced the completion of definitive agreements to acquire Alpheus Communications from its current private equity owners, the Gores Group and Scott Widham. Alpheus is a leading provider of metro-regional fibre, datacentre and managed network solutions to enterprise customers and wholesale customers in Texas. With the acquisition of Alpheus, LOGIX will add 2,800 route miles of long-haul fibre and 1,900 route miles of metro fibre to its existing network. LOGIX was acquired by a private equity group consortium led by Astra Capital Management in June 2016.

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Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Mauritius, Mexico, Nauru, Niger, Thailand, United States, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), IOX Cable Ltd, LOGIX Communications, Nokia, SEACOM, Symphony Communication (Thailand), TIME dotCom

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