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

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15 Sep 2017

US-based Seaborn Networks has revealed that the 10,800km Seabras-1 submarine cable system is now ready for service (RFS). The six-fibre pair network – which has design capacity of 72Tbps and boasts 125 repeaters – comprises five branching units to Miami (US), US Virgin Islands, Las Toninas (Argentina), Cape Town (South Africa) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Seabras-1 – which was deployed by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) – is owned jointly by Seaborn Networks and Partners Group, a global investment manager with USD66 billion in assets. An additional connection to Argentina – via the ARBR system – is currently under development, following the inking of an agreement between Seaborn and Grupo Werthein de Argentina in April 2017. The ARBR branch will comprise four fibre pairs with an initial maximum design capacity of 48Tbps; the cable is expected to be RFS in the second half of 2018, with the Argentinean landing station expected to be in or near Las Toninas. Further, Seaborn has also deployed Infinera’s new XTS-3300 meshponders on the Seabras-1 submarine cable to rapidly offer cloud connectivity services like SeaCloud. Larry W. Schwartz, Chairman & CEO, Seaborn Networks, commented: ‘The Infinera XTS-3300 meshponder … allows us to provision services within minutes between our Infinera metro networks in Brazil and New York. This, combined with Instant Bandwidth, enables us to rapidly respond to our customers’ hyperscale requirements and offer cloud scale service on demand.’

Negotiations between the Tasmanian government and SubPartners (acquired by Superloop in April 2017) regarding the deployment of a third fibre-optic cable connecting mainland Australia to the island state of Tasmania have reportedly stalled, Mercury writes. SubPartners – which previously announced plans to build the 4,850km Indigo-Central (formerly APX-Central) stretching from Perth to Sydney (Australia) – reportedly suggested an additional spur to connect Tasmania either at Hobart or George Town, with Technology Minister Michael Ferguson commissioning a consultant to assess the business case in 2013. The official was now cited as saying: ‘Unfortunately in the time elapsed since then, the consortium has not agreed to that being an option and has offered an altogether separate line out of Sydney into Tasmania.’ However, the new proposal for the deployment of the Sydney-Hobart submarine system was dismissed by the government: ‘For AUD15 million [USD18.9 million] and Tasmania to not have any rights on it, would not have been an attractive proposition.’ As reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in April 2017 the Indigo consortium – comprising Google, Singaporean operator Singtel Group, Aussie counterpart Telstra, AARNet, Indonesia’s Indosat Ooredoo and SubPartners – signed a system supply agreement for the development of the Indigo-West (previously known as APX-West) and Indigo-Central submarine cable projects with ASN. The 4,600km Indigo-West system will link Perth, Australia to Tuas (Singapore) and Ankol (Jakarta). The two cables are expected to be RFS in Q1 2019.

Lebanon’s share in the planned extension of the Alexandros submarine cable sub-system to link Lebanon to France via Cyprus will increase from 310Gbps to 1.92Tbps, following the inking of an agreement between Lebanon’s Ministry of Telecoms (MoT) and Cypriot operator Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta), writes. The MoT also disclosed that the capacity of the existing CADMOS system connecting Lebanon to Cyprus has been increased to 500Gbps (to be available before the end of 2017). The Lebanese government and Cyta will share the cost of the project, paying USD350,000 each. Going forward, CADMOS will be replaced in 2019 by a new cable called Europa, which will also be installed in partnership with Cyprus. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the MoT and Cyta signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of the Europa system linking Lebanon and Cyprus in March 2013. The system was initially expected to be RFS by 2015, though plans for its deployment have subsequently stalled.

Equinix has announced that its International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres in Sydney and Melbourne (Australia) will be used as PoPs for the Australian-Singapore Cable (ASC) system currently built by Vocus Communications. The ASC will utilise over 150 networks in Sydney and more than 35 in Melbourne to enable high-speed connectivity across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, while also improving interconnection due to its coastal and bi-coastal access points, Equinix said. The 4,600km cable – which will boast a minimum of four fibre pairs with a design capacity of 40Tbps – will link Australia to Singapore and Indonesia in July 2018, with an onward spur to the Christmas Islands. 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, 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.

South African fibre provider FibreCo Telecommunications has selected German network manufacturer ADVA Optical Networking to assist it with expanding its broadband infrastructure. The initial deployment will involve the installation of 780km of fibre between Johannesburg and the Mtunzini submarine cable landing station, which houses the Africa-1, EASSy, Liquid Sea, SAFE and SEACOM/Tata TGN-Eurasia submarine cable systems. With the ADVA FSP 3000 and ROADM technologies, FibreCo Telecommunications will be able to provide high-speed, scalable connectivity with low latency for optimised bandwidth utilisation.

Vodafone New Zealand has deployed what it claimed is ‘the world’s first live 400Gbps optical system’ to increase capacity over its fibre-optic footprint spanning 10,000km, in partnership with Ciena and test equipment expert EXFO. Following the upgrade, Vodafone can now achieve up to 17Tbps of throughput on a single pair of fibres. Anthony McLachlan, Vice President and General Manager, Ciena Asia Pacific said, ‘Vodafone New Zealand is increasing capacity to support ever-growing consumer data consumption, mobile coverage and internet connections, as well as provide services for wholesale carriers and large enterprise customers.’ Vodafone’s 400Gbps Ciena WaveLogic Ai system is now carrying live customer traffic across the Auckland metro region, with plans underway for further expansions.

AT&T has successfully completed a trial of a single-wavelength 400GbE data speed across its production network. Roman Pacewicz, chief product officer at AT&T Business, said: ‘This trial of an IEEE standards-based 400GbE end-to-end circuit demonstrates our intent to lead the industry in providing next-generation speeds – helping transform the way our customers do business.’ Utilising open-source controller technology, the end-to-end service transported across the AT&T Open ROADM metro network – using optical gear from Ciena – provides further flexibility and cost-effective services for customers.

French engineering and consulting group Tactis has been awarded a XOF3.8 billion (USD7.0 million) contract to monitor the implementation of the first phase of Burkina Faso’s national fibre network, after the Ministry of Development of the Digital Economy launched the selection process back in September 2016, reports Agence Ecofin. The first stage of the rollout – spanning 2,001km – will be implemented by Singapore-based Huawei International PTE Limited. Under the USD241 million project, the Burkina Faso government is aiming to deploy a terrestrial network spanning 5,443km.

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