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

22 Sep 2017

The physical work to manufacture and lay the MAREA submarine cable across the Atlantic has now been completed, with the system scheduled to enter commercial operations in early 2018. The 6,605km MAREA subsea system – featuring eight fibre-pairs and an initial estimated design capacity of 160Tbps – will link Virginia Beach (US) with Bilbao (Spain) and will be owned and operated by Edge Cable Holdings (Edge USA – a direct subsidiary of social networking giant Facebook), Microsoft Infrastructure Group and Telxius (part of the Telefonica group). The US landing station will be owned by Edge USA (25%), Microsoft (25%) and Telxius (50%); Microsoft will serve as the landing partner. Global telecoms infrastructure company Telxius joined the two original partners Microsoft and Facebook in May 2016, to manage the construction process and operate the cable, with construction work on the system commencing in August.

NEC Corporation has announced the completion of the 100Gbps Sistem Kabel Rakyat 1Malaysia (SKR1M) submarine cable linking Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia) with with the states of Sabah and Sarawak. The new SKR1M network – with an initial capacity of 4Tbps – lands in Mersing (Johor), Kuching, Bintulu and Miri (all Sarawak), Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) and Cherating (Pahang). The SKR1M system comprises five segments: S1 connecting Mersing and Kuching; S2 (Kuching-Bintulu); S3 (Bintulu-Miri); S4 (Miri-Kota Kinabalu); and S5 (Kota Kinabalu-Cherating). The SKR1M system capacity could be upgraded in stages up to 12.8Tbps depending on demand. The 3,800km fibre-optic cable system was established via a public-private partnership agreement between the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Telekom Malaysia inked in 2014. TIME dotCom (TdC) also owns a portion of the submarine cable.

RAM Telecom International (RTI) and NEC Corporation have revealed that the SEA-US submarine cable system is ready for service (RFS) following acceptance by the SEA-US consortium, while also announcing that the marine survey of the Hong Kong-Guam Cable System (HK-G) extension has now commenced. The 15,000km submarine cable is owned by a consortium comprising RTI, Globe Telecom, Hawaiian Telcom, Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Teleguam Holdings (GTA), GTI Corporation (a member of the Globe Telecom group of companies) and Telkom USA. The 100G system – which bypasses congested, earthquake-prone areas – will deliver 20Tbps capacity, and will have a minimum of 25 years of commercial life. Meanwhile, the duo said that the information that will be gathered during the HK-G marine survey will shape the final route for the system. The 3,900km HK-G undersea cable, which will feature 100Gbps optical transmission capabilities, will deliver design capacity of more than 48Tbps, and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019. In Hong Kong, the cable is slated to land in Tseung Kwan O (TKO), and will land in Piti, Guam at the recently completed GTA cable landing station, the same facility which is being utilised for SEA-US.

TE SubCom has launched a new global network operations centre (NOC) designed to provide cable operators with a single source for fault, configuration, alarm, performance, security and maintenance network management. Capabilities of SubCom’s NOC include full vendor-neutral capabilities, visibility of the network status at global and regional levels, customised support levels and a service desk. The service has already been selected for the 10,566km Monet system – jointly owned by Uruguayan state-owned operator Antel, Brazil’s Algar Telecom, Angola Cables and Google – connecting the cities of Santos and Fortaleza in Brazil and Miami (US). Construction of the six-fibre-pair system is currently underway, and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2017.

The Bangladeshi section of the SeaMeWe-4 submarine cable will be out of service for three days from 6 October due to maintenance works in the Bay of Bengal, according to Monwar Hossain, managing director of the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL). The announcement comes shortly after the country’s second submarine cable SeaMeWe-5 entered commercial operations on 10 September, providing 250Gbps of additional bandwidth, though that would be 50Gbps short of the country’s requirements during maintenance. Mr Hossain said: ‘We are trying to shift all our connectivity with the second cable … We are trying to purchase another 50Gbps from some international companies for one month to tackle the situation.’

Infinera and Seaborn Networks (Seaborn) successfully completed a subsea field trial demonstrating what they claim is ‘the industry’s highest spectral efficiency on an ultra-long haul subsea cable’. The 8QAM trial demonstrated 4.5 bits per second per hertz on the 10,500km Seabras-1 cable, enabling up to 50% more capacity than systems without advanced coherent technologies such as Nyquist sub-carriers and SD-FEC gainsharing.

TELE Greenland has revealed that the repair of the Greenland Connect submarine cable linking Qaqortoq with Landeyjar (Iceland) had impacted internet customers south of Nuuk. During the repair works (which ran until 20 September), TELE said that web traffic was routed via microwave radio relay, thus slowing traffic and limiting usage such as streaming.

Peru’s private investment promotion agency ProInversion has launched tenders to build seven regional fibre-optic broadband networks in Amazonas, Ica, Junin, Lima, Moquegua, Puno and Tacno. Under the plans, a total of 846 locations will benefit from improved connectivity via 5,336km of fire-optic cabling with projected investment of USD163.7 million, distributed as follows: 320 locations in Junin via 1,771km of fibre (USD61.62 million), 418 locations in Puno (2,556km, USD72.54 million), and 108 locations in Moquegua-Tacna (1,009km, USD29.5 million). An additional investment of USD136.7 million will guarantee 586 connections in three other regions via 3,972km of fibre: Amazonas (247 locations, 1,225km of fibre, USD56.9 million), Ica (75 locations, 920km of fibre, USD22.2 million) and Lima (264 locations, 1,797km of fibre, USD57.5 million). The networks will be incorporated into the National Fibre-Optic Backbone (Red Dorsal Nacional de Fibra Optica, RDNFO) – alongside a number of other projects, including initiatives in Lambayeque, Cusco and Ayacucho. The networks in Lambayeque are being rolled out by Movistar, with Gilat Networks in charge of the deployments in Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Cusco and Apurimac, while Redes Andinas de Comunicaciones consortium is rolling out fibre in Piura, Tumbes and Cajamarca. The eight regional fibre-optic backbone networks will be operational by the end of 2017. The USD333 million RDFO project involves the installation, operation and maintenance of around 13,500km of fibre-optic cables connecting 22 regional capitals and 180 provincial capitals.

Lastly, state-backed Kyrgyztelecom last month began construction of its second cross-border network link with Tajikistan, which it plans to complete in the fourth quarter of this year, Tazabek reports. The international terrestrial link – at Karamik village in the southern Kyrgyz region of Osh – was required due to increased internet demand chiefly from users in Tajikistan, as well as improving the quality of its own services, Kyrgyztelecom said, having forged an agreement enabling neighbouring telco Tajiktelecom to increase the volume of purchased internet traffic via its Kyrgyz counterpart’s network, which in turn can be wholesaled to Tajik ISPs. The new link will also provide additional back-up connectivity/network resilience for Kyrgyztelecom, which operates several existing international cross-border connections in northern Kyrgyzstan and in the south of the country.

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