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

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20 Oct 2017

Saint Lucia-based Deep Blue Cable has announced plans to extend its pan-Caribbean regional submarine cable system to Colombia and Panama, as well as expand to additional landing points throughout the region. Route survey activities for the cable will commence in Q1 2018, and is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in Q2 2020. Deep Blue Water’s CEO Stephen Scott said: ‘With the planned extension of our subsea fibre-optic cable system to Colombia and Panama, Deep Blue underscores its commitment to the long-term solution of providing advanced subsea connectivity across the Caribbean islands and to the Americas.’ The Pan-Caribbean system will span 12,000km with initial landing points in 14 markets throughout the region, including the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Colombia, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands and dual diverse landings in the US. The submarine cable network will boast eight fibre pairs and will have an initial capacity of 6Tbps per fibre pair. The new system will utilise TE SubCom’s optical add/drop multiplexer (OADM) branching unit technology.

Tropic Science, China-ASEAN Information Harbour, China Construction Bank and Huawei Marine Networks have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the deployment of the PEACE submarine cable project. The PEACE undersea cable network will span approximately 6,800km to connect South Asia (via Pakistan) and East Africa (via Djibouti and Kenya). The project’s backers assert the PEACE submarine network will offer the shortest submarine fibre cable route from China to Africa, with links to Europe via terrestrial fibres. The project financing will be wholly provided by the China Construction Bank. Work on the cable will begin in November, with a RFS date of Q3 2019.

Fiber Prime Telecommunications (FPT) and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) have signed a deal for the deployment of the AURORA submarine cable system to meet increasing bandwidth demands in North, Central and South American countries. The USD310 million system will deliver up to 15Tbps of capacity and strengthen the existing network infrastructure in the region. Luiz Fuschini, Chairman and President of FPT, said: ‘AURORA represents the first of many projects we are planning in order to position FPT as one of the top ten subsea cable system companies. We are well aware of how communications infrastructures are important for the regions and contributing to its development is one of our company’s key values, following United Nations’ goals.’ TeleGeography notes that FPT has direct presence in more than 15 countries and extensive network partnerships covering any location in the Americas and Europe, with expansion plans to extend capabilities to Asia. The company was acquired by Private investment group Abu Dhabi Investment Group (ABDIG) in August 2017, with the new majority owner disclosing plans to restructure the company to become a ‘top-tier subsea cable company’ with an investment of USD5 billion in submarine projects.

Canadian dark fibre supplier Crosslake Fibre has begun the underwater marine survey for its Lake Ontario submarine fibre-optic cable linking Toronto (Canada) and Buffalo (New York, US) via Lake Ontario. Crosslake claimed that the 60km submarine cable will provide diversity from other routes between the two cities, in addition to lower latency. The submarine cable network, which will land northwest of Lockport on the US shores and close to Toronto’s downtown core on the Canadian end, is expected to be RFS by September 2018. Crosslake will own and operate the system as an independent operator and will offer dark fibre and managed services to enterprise and carrier customers, as well as ultra-low latency services to financial networks. Crosslake has selected Canadian Seabed Research to undertake the marine survey.

Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) is transforming its network with Ciena’s converged packet optical and software platforms to respond to the growing demand for IT and telecoms services. IEC will utilise Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform to power a 100G DWDM OTN-switched core network combined with OTN and photonic control planes to significantly improve the capacity and resiliency of the network. The solution leverages Ciena’s WaveLogic Encryption to allow protection of critical in-flight information, without any impact to performance, while the data traverses its network. IEC will also utilise Blue Planet’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) software for unified network management and end-to-end service provisioning and planning.

Lastly, North-eastern US fibre provider FirstLight has completed the acquisition of US-based fibre products provider 186 Communication, which operates fibre networks in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, for an undisclosed sum. The development marks FirstLight’s fourth successful takeover in a year, after it acquired Oxford Networks (January 2017), Sovernet Communications (March 2017) and Finger Lakes Technologies Group (FLTG, July 2017). The company now operates approximately 14,000 route miles of high-capacity fibre-optic network connecting nearly 8,000 locations and twelve data centres across the Northeast.

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Colombia, Panama, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Ciena Corporation, Deep Blue Cable, Fiber Prime Telecommunication (FPT), FirstLight Fiber, HMN Tech (formerly Huawei Marine), Israel Electric Corporation (IEC)