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

25 Aug 2017

Uruguayan state-run telecoms operator *Antel* has announced the completion of the Tannat fibre-optic cable linking Maldonado in Uruguay with the city of Santos in Brazil. The Uruguayan telco disclosed that it invested USD77 million in the rollout of the 2,000km cable (jointly owned by Antel and Google), which has a total design capacity of 90Tbps. In Santos, the Tannat cable will interconnect with the 10,566km Monet system – jointly owned by Antel, Brazil’s Algar Telecom, Angola Cables and Google – connecting the cities of Santos and Fortaleza in Brazil and Miami (US), with onward connectivity to Google’s other terrestrial and submarine infrastructure in the region, including the 390km Junior submarine network aiming to link the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and Santos in H2 2017 and the 6,165km South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) connecting Angola and Brazil, with ready for service (RFS) date of Q3 2018. The new infrastructure was deployed by equipment vendor Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (now part of *Nokia*).

Australian telco *Vocus Communications* is planning to complete the 4,600km Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) linking Australia to Singapore and Indonesia ahead of schedule, with services over the system now expected to be launched in July 2018. Vocus said that despite adding a spur to Christmas Island, the subsea cable – which will boast a minimum of four fibre pairs with a design capacity of 40Tbps – will be RFS in less than a year, ahead of competitor cable systems Indigo and Trident. Vocus Group CEO Geoff Horth explained: ‘We’ve been able to achieve the earlier date through condensing the programme of works.’ The marine route survey and full system design have now been completed and the marine transmission system manufacturing is ‘in full swing’, Vocus said, with work on the marine cable now 80% complete, land-based electronics and power systems (80%) and submarine electronics systems (40%). Originally the system was a 50/50 joint venture between Vocus and NextGen Networks, though in June 2016 Vocus acquired its former partner for AUD700 million (USD553 million), paying an additional AUD27 million for the ASC and AUD134 million for the 2,100km North West Cable System (NWCS) linking Darwin and Port Hedland (both in Australia), which went live in September 2016.

Chile’s Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications (Miniseterio de Transportes y Telecomunicaciones, MTT) has announced that three companies have submitted bids for the terrestrial section of the Fibra Optica Austral project (shelved in October 2016 but re-launched in May this year), under which the government aims to deploy nearly 4,000km of fibre-optic infrastructure in the southern Patagonia region. The bidders are Silica Networks,* VuPoint Systems* and Conectividad Austral, with the winner scheduled to be announced on 17 October. The project 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. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, four companies submitted bids for the submarine section of contract earlier this month. The Fibra Optica Austral project will require an investment of USD100 million and is slated for completion by 2020.

The governments of Djibouti and Somalia have reached an agreement to share capacity on the 5,500km submarine cable system known as the *Djibouti Africa Regional Express (DARE)*, ITWeb Africa writes. The agreement was inked by Somalia’s telecoms minister Abdi Ashur Hassan and his Djibouti counterpart Abdi Youssouf Sougueh earlier this week. The cable, which will connect Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Mombasa (Kenya), Mogadishu (Somalia), Bosaso (part of Somalia’s autonomous Puntland region), Berbera (Somaliland), Mocha (Yemen) and Djibouti City (Djibouti), is expected to be completed by May 2018. The 100G cable system will deliver more than 60Tbps of capacity and each branch will be implemented with optical add/drop multiplexing nodes (OADM).

Saint Lucia-based regional submarine cable system Deep Blue Cable, which is expected to be RFS in 2020, is considering deploying a pair of spurs to the island of Cuba, the Irish Times reports. The cable spurs appear on a new network map published by Deep Blue Cable, which counts Irish telecoms tycoon Denis O’Brien among its backers. The newspaper notes that one spur appears to land about 100 miles west of Havana, near Harlem, while the other lands on the southern side of Cuba, at the Bay of Pigs.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed that it has granted a cable landing licence to Telxius Cable USA for the purpose of constructing, landing and operating the 11,200km BRUSA cable system, which will connect Virginia Beach, Virginia (US); San Juan (Puerto Rico); and Fortaleza and Rio de Janeiro (both Brazil). Telxius Cable USA was previously known as Telefonica International Wholesale Services USA.

Submarine cable operator Angola Cables has launched a remote peering service at France-IX Marseille, which will improve connectivity between customers at France-IX and those peering at Angola Cables’ own IXP Angonix, located in the Angolan capital Luanda. Elsewhere, Equinix is planning to open its fifth International Business Exchange (IBX) data centre in Hong Kong in the fourth quarter of 2017. Built in close proximity to financial data centre hubs and subsea landing stations, the new USD32 million facility is designed to meet demand for interconnection from the city’s financial services firms and other industries.

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