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

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15 Dec 2017

A number of telecoms operators – Telma and Blueline of Madagascar; Emtel and CEB FiberNET of Mauritius, Zeop and SFR of Reunion, and Canal+ Telecom of France – have signed an agreement for the deployment of the Meltingpot Indianoceanic Submarine System (METISS), the Journal of Reunion Island writes. The new submarine cable is aiming to link the three island nations of Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion with South Africa and is expected to be ready for service (RFS) in 2018. The project, which was initiated by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), will benefit from the financial backing of the EU and the French Development Agency (Afd).

Anchorage-based Quintillion Subsea Holdings has finished the testing of its Quintillion Subsea Cable System – a 15,000km intercontinental submarine fibre-optic system aiming to connect Europe and Asia via the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic – and the first section of the network entered services on 1 December 2017. The Alaskan portion of the project comprises a terrestrial link from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay (in operation since spring 2017), while the subsea section consists of a 1,850km segment linking the Alaskan communities of Nome and Prudhoe Bay with four branches into Kotzebue, Wainwright, Point Hope and Barrow. The network incorporates advanced routing and burial techniques to protect the cable and enhance the integrity of the system. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in July 2015 Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) entered into a contract with Quintillion for the design and construction of the submarine cable system. At that time, ASN said it had started surveying and installation activities for the system. The project was originally led by Canadian telecoms firm Arctic Fibre, although Quintillion acquired the assets of that company in 2015. New York-based investment firm Cooper Investment Partners, meanwhile, is the lead investor.

Retelit of Italy has inked a commercial agreement with an ‘Asian international telecoms operator’ for the sale of 1.1Tbps of capacity on the Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1) submarine cable system over a period of 20 years. The 25,000km network – owned by a consortium of 19 global service providers – connects Asia, the Middle East, East Africa and Europe, and is described as ‘the longest 100Gbps technology-based submarine system’, with design capacity of over 40Tbps. The agreement permits Retelit to pursue its network and PoP expansion strategy, by gaining access to two of the main Asian market hubs in Singapore and Hong Kong. In exchange, the unnamed Asian operator could use Retelit’s backhaul services to connect the capacity acquired on the AAE-1 system from the Bari landing station to the main internet exchanges in Europe.

Tiger Infrastructure Partners has committed an unknown sum for the deployment of Canadian dark fibre supplier Crosslake Fibre’s submarine cable system directly connecting Toronto (Canada) with Buffalo (New York, US) via Lake Ontario. Crosslake claims 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 ready for service (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. In October 2017 Crosslake selected Canadian Seabed Research to undertake the marine survey of the system. Additionally, Crosslake Fibre recently announced plans for a submarine cable system connecting cable landing stations in Wall (New Jersey) to Long Island (New York).

The SeaMeWe-3 submarine cable system is now scheduled to be repaired between 21 December and 26 December, instead of 10 December as initially planned, VietnamPlus writes. A spokesperson for the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) disclosed that once the SeaMeWe-3 system is back in operation, repair works of the Asia-America-Gateway (AAG) network will commence. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, the SeaMeWe-3 submarine cable connecting Perth in Western Australia to Europe, the Middle East and Asia was damaged on 3 December 2017; the cable fault occurred approximately 1,126km from the cable landing station in Singapore. The Asia-America Gateway (AAG) system, meanwhile, experienced a fault off Hong Kong’s coast on 28 August, reportedly due to a major storm. The 20,000km AAG cable, which links Vietnam to Hong Kong and the US, suffered damage at two sections, around 66km and 85km from the cable landing station in Hong Kong.

Government-owned fixed line incumbent operator Syrian Telecom (ST, formerly Syrian Telecommunications Establishment [STE]) has revealed that the Aletar cable connecting Alexandria in Egypt with Tartous (Syria) has been damaged. ST’s CEO Baker Baker told SANA that the company is working on rerouting the traffic via another international line that had been expanded recently, with services scheduled to return to normal within ten days.

An unnamed global webscale company has selected Zayo Group Holdings to acquire additional capacity. Under the agreement, Zayo will provide more than 1,350km of long haul dark fibre located on multiple strategic routes in the UK and France. The solution utilises Zayo’s significant European assets acquired from AboveNet (March 2013), Geo Networks (May 2014) and Viatel (January 2016).

Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore officially launched the first phase of the national fibre-optic backbone this week in Gaoua, reports Africa Time. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, French engineering and consulting group Tactis will monitor the implementation of phase one of the project spanning 2,001km, with Singapore-based Huawei International PTE Limited constructing the network. Phase one of the national fibre-optic backbone network will cost XOF50 billion (USD89.8 million) with financing provided by the Bank of China (60%) and BNP-Paribas (40%). Phase one will be deployed by Huawei during the course of 2018, while the second phase of the project will cover a further 8,000km across Burkina Faso.

The third phase of Cameroon’s national fibre-optic backbone network, which commenced in February 2015, was completed in late November 2017, according to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. Following the rollout of 3,950km of fibre routes during the third stage of the programme, the total span of the backbone grid has now reached some 12,000km. The first phase of the national fibre-optic backbone deployment began in 2009, with a total of 2,800km rolled out. The second phase – comprising 3,200km of fibre cabling – began in 2011 and was completed in May 2013. In addition to the 20,000km national fibre-optic backbone, the government is planning to build cross-border links to the neighbouring countries of Central African Republic, Congo and Nigeria, as part of the Central African Backbone (CAB) programme. The project will see the deployment of 916km of fibre cabling along five routes: Mamfe-Ekok (82km), Bertoua-Batouri-Kentzou (206km), Kumba-Mamfe (187km), Sangmelima-Djoum-Mintom-Ntam (331km), and Ndop-Kumbo-Bamenda (110km).

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