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

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28 Jul 2017

French Polynesia’s Office of Post and Telecommunications (Office des Postes et Telecommunications, OPT) and Nokia’s Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) have signed a turnkey agreement for the deployment of the NATITUA subsea cable system, which will have an ultimate design capacity of over 10Tbps. Spanning more than 2,500km, the NATITUA system will link Tahiti to eight atolls in the archipelago of Tuamotu – Rangiroa, Manihi, Takaroa, Kaukura, Arutua, Fakarava, Makemo and Hao – with two islands of Marquisas, namely Hiva Oa and Nuku Hiva. NATITUA will extend the existing Honotua cable system, which connects the French Polynesian islands of Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea and Bora Bora to Hawaii (US). The solution to be deployed by ASN will include the 1620 SOFTNODE, which incorporates multiple transmission formats to maximise delivered capacity at the lowest cost per bit and ROADM branching unit, which is part of ASN’s product portfolio also including wavelength selective switch (WSS) technology.

New Zealand’s largest telco by subscribers Spark has completed an upgrade to the Nelson-Levin cable link across the Cook Strait by installing Optical Transport technology at the landing point in Nelson’s Cable Bay. The 237km fibre-optic network – commissioned by Spark in 2001 – includes a 212km submarine section from Cable Bay to Hokio Beach in Levin. Campbell Fraser, Spark’s GM of Technology Infrastructure, said: ‘The completion of this upgrade improves the resiliency of our network particularly between the North and South Islands, as the Nelson-to-Levin cable is shallow buried rather than laid on the surface of the sea floor, and is away from known fault lines. In emergency situations, it gives us more options for routing traffic and keeping people connected.’

The Australian government is reportedly mulling an option to withhold issuing a landing permit for the planned Solomon Islands Submarine Cable (SISC) linking the Solomon Islands to the rest of the world, after the deployment contract was awarded to Chinese vendor Huawei, the Solomon Star News writes. Newly established Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company (SISCC) was cited as saying: ‘SISCC is working on the submission of a Permitted Zone Permit through the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to complete its permits to land the cable in Australia. Discussions with ACMA are on-going at the moment’, adding that one aspect of the application will concern the equipment that is to be deployed. ‘SISCC assures all stakeholders that the Board and Management are working closely with the Solomon Islands Government and Australian Authorities to clarify the situation regarding its main supplier, Huawei International, as part of the process of obtaining their Cable landing permits for Australia.’ As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, last week the government of the Solomon Islands and SISCC awarded the turnkey contract to Huawei. The vendor will deploy a 3,400km fibre-optic cable from Sydney to Honiara, comprising two optical fibre pairs with potential capacity of 2.5Tbps, in addition to a 600km domestic network linking Noro in the Western Province and Auki (Malaita Province) with Honiara. The planned system – expected to be ready for service (RFS) in early 2019 – also includes a Branching Unit for a possible use by another regional operator.

Bangladesh is reportedly yet to benefit from its connection to the SeaMeWe-5 submarine cable, which landed in the country on 21 February 2017, due to its failure to establish an uninterrupted inland link, the Daily Star reported. The government declared its target to inaugurate the connection by mid-March, though the link between the landing station and the capital could not be set up within the stipulated time. The terrestrial network was subsequently scheduled for launch this month, but the link inauguration was again cancelled, with Mir Mohammed Morshed, director of public relations at state-owned Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), saying: ‘On Tuesday, some of the BTCL lines were disrupted or cut simultaneously in different places of the country’. BTCL officials claim that the terrestrial network is ‘ready since March’, though it is ‘being used for different purposes in the telecommunications sector’.

Alaska Communications has upgraded its terrestrial and submarine networks with Ciena’s GeoMesh solution to improve internet access and provide secure and reliable connectivity. This upgrade increases network capacity by four times from the contiguous US to Alaska. With the new scalable, OTN-switched network’s efficient traffic grooming and aggregation capabilities, Alaska Communications can rapidly turn up new services and deliver low-latency, high-capacity and reliable connectivity, the company said in a press release. TeleGeography notes that Alaska Communications currently operates the ACS Alaska-Oregon Network (AKORN) submarine cable, which connects Alaska to Oregon.

International service provider RETN has completed a network upgrade at the Evoswitch data centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands, thus doubling its existing network capacity. The PoP is directly linked to RETN’s multi-gigabit pan-European network and represents a significant share of RETN’s presence in the Benelux region.

Lastly, ExteNet Systems has revealed that it is in the process of acquiring MetroFiber (which offers services as Axiom Fiber Networks) for an undisclosed sum, thus deepening its New York City fibre footprint (reportedly spanning 245 fibre miles across Manhattan). The deal is subject to customary regulatory approvals. Axiom Fiber Networks offers dark fibre and custom connectivity in metro New York City via its 20 miles, 864-strand count core network.

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