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

29 Sep 2017

French Polynesia’s Council of Ministers has revealed that a grant of XPF367 million (USD3.63 million) will be required from the Exceptional Investment Fund (Fonds Exceptionnel d’Investissement, or FEI) for the second phase of the NATITUA submarine cable project. The sum is equivalent to 35% of the total XPF1 billion expenditure needed for the construction of the terminal stations and their connection to the cable system. TNTV News writes that a grant proposal will be submitted for approval to the Assembly shortly. The FEI provided 50% of the XPF250 million required for the first (study) phase of the project in 2016. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in July 2017 the Office of Post and Telecommunications (Office des Postes et Telecommunications, OPT) and Nokia’s Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) signed a turnkey agreement for the deployment of the subsea cable system. Spanning more than 2,500km, the NATITUA system (with design capacity of 10Tbps) 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. The whole project will require XPF6 billion of funding.

Globe Telecom has officially launched the USD250 million Southeast Asia-United States (SEA-US) submarine cable system in Davao City (the Philippines). Globe is reported to have spent USD80 million on constructing the new 14,500km cable system, which is its first direct connection to the US.

The Defence Information Systems Agency (DISA), an agency within the US Department of Defense, has awarded a contract for the construction of a new regional submarine cable system to Xtera. The vendor will provide a turnkey system that consists of undersea optical repeaters, cable, marine services and its Nu-Wave Optima submarine line terminal equipment. Xtera noted it uses undersea amplifiers to facilitate un-repeatered and repeatered connectivity speeds of up to 40Tbps with a single fibre pair. The contract represents the company’s second subsea system development project with DISA.

Mauritius Telecom has signed an agreement to become the anchor tenant on the 8,850km IOX Cable System linking South Africa with India, via landings in Mauritius, the autonomous outer island of Rodrigues and the French overseas territory of Reunion. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, IOX Cable awarded the turnkey contract for the deployment of the cable system to Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), part of Nokia, in June 2017. Providing an ultimate design capacity of over 13Tbps per fibre pair, the system seeks to reinforce Mauritius’s reputation as a communications hub.

TE SubCom has announced that the fibre-optic cables for the Hawaiki system have been loaded aboard its cable-laying vessels the CS Global Sentinel and the CS Responder. SubCom’s facility in Newington, New Hampshire (US), has manufactured nearly 14,000km of undersea fibre-optic cable for Hawaiki and more than 170 completed repeaters. The Hawaiki Cable will connect Australia, New Zealand and the US with a number of South Pacific Islands and Hawaii, with a ready for service (RFS) date of June 2018.

Norwegian operator Telenor has disclosed plans to strengthen its submarine cable along the coast of Finnmark county following a number of outages last winter, ifinnmark.no writes. The cable between Berlevag and Batsfjord will be reinforced this autumn by a double strand and integrated sink threads, while the Berlevag-Finnkongkeila and Hamningberg-Vardo sections will get an upgrade in 2018. Telenor coverage director Bjorn Amundsen said that his company is also planning to install new nodes on its terrestrial cables across Finnmark.

The crew of cable laying ship Asean Explorer has identified a new shunt fault in the insulation of the SeaMeWe-3 submarine cable connecting Perth to Asia. Repairs on the shunt fault have now begun and are expected to be completed by 2 October. The system was initially damaged in August, with an estimated repair date of 13 October.

Zimbabwean fixed line incumbent TelOne has reportedly completed a 330km fibre link from Bulawayo to Beitbridge, which is located on the border with South Africa, the Herald writes. The new international route will complement TelOne’s existing connections to Mozambique (from the capital Harare via Mutare), Botswana (via Plumtree), and Zambia (via Kariba). The operator currently leases capacity on a separate fibre route from Harare to Beitbridge via Masvingo. Equipment vendor Huawei commenced the rollout of the new link – which is part of the National Broadband Backbone (NBB) project – in May 2017. Around 70% of the country’s USD99 million NBB project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

Australian telco Telstra and equipment vendors Ericsson and Ciena have successfully trialled continuous data encryption while maintaining 100Gbps speeds over 21,940km – from Los Angeles in the US to Melbourne (Australia) – across multiple cable systems. Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, said: ‘In January 2015, we had success at 200Gbps between Melbourne and Sydney, then with 10Gbps speeds over the greater distance from Melbourne to Los Angeles in January this year. Now we have achieved 100Gbps. Ericsson will continue to support Telstra’s path toward commercialisation of this enhanced security capability.’

ADVA Optical Networking has successfully completed a joint field trial of its FSP 3000 CloudConnect and OpenFabric technology in Telefonica Germany’s live 10Gbps network, achieving disaggregated 100Gbps, 150Gbps and 200Gbps connectivity. The high-density 1RU modular DCI technology successfully carried alien wavelengths across the backbone infrastructure with no impact on live traffic, including error-free 200Gbps transmission over a 290km data path. The trial was conducted with the support of ADVA Optical Networking’s Elite partner Axians.

Midwest regional fibre provider Neutral Path Communications has agreed to purchase Infinity Fiber, deepening its fibre footprint in Indianapolis and Chicago. The acquisition increases Neutral Path’s carrier neutral network by over 300 miles, bringing its total to over 2,300 route miles and 150,000 fibre miles across eight states. The company said it expects the deal to close this quarter, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of necessary federal and state regulatory approvals.

Lastly, Equinix has entered into an agreement with The Carlyle Group for the purchase of data centre, connectivity and cloud infrastructure solutions provider Itconic, which offers services in Spain and Portugal, and its enterprise-oriented subsidiary CloudMas. Equinix will purchase the companies in an all-cash transaction totalling USD259 million. The acquisition is expected to close in Q4 2017, subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approval. The acquisition of Itconic will further strengthen Equinix’s position in Europe and will extend its footprint into two new countries within the region. The acquisition will include five data centres – two in Madrid and one in Barcelona, Seville and Lisbon.

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