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

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12 Jan 2018

A consortium comprising Aqua Communications (AquaComms), Bulk Infrastructure, Facebook and others, has awarded a contract to TE SubCom to act as the system supplier for the HAVFRUE cable system. The new submarine cable will traverse the North Atlantic to connect mainland Northern Europe to the US. The system is comprised of a trunk cable connecting New Jersey (US) to the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark with a branch landing in County Mayo (Ireland). Optional branch extensions to Northern and Southern Norway are also included in the design. The HAVFRUE cable system will be optimised for coherent transmission and will offer a cross-sectional cable capacity of 108Tbps, scalable to higher capacities utilising future generation Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) technology. AquaComms will serve as the system operator and landing party in the US, Ireland and Denmark, while Bulk Infrastructure of Norway will be the owner and landing party for the Norwegian branch options. Route survey operations for the system have begun and the cable is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in Q4 2019.

Construction work on the 8,850km IOX Cable System aiming to link South Africa with India, via landings in Mauritius, the autonomous outer island of Rodrigues and the French overseas territory of Reunion is progressing as planned, with the system scheduled to be RFS by Q4 2019. The cable will have a design capacity of 13Tbps per fibre pair and will deliver an ultimate design capacity of over 52Tbps. IOX Cable’s CEO Arunachalam Kandasamy said: ‘Our Phase 2 plan is to connect Mauritius with Seychelles and Kenya and give a new route into the east African market. On our plan is also to further connect into Asia and onwards into Europe to ensure that our customers can experience seamless and end-to-end connectivity on our network.’ The system will be owned and operated by Mauritius-based IOX Cable Ltd and is being built by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN).

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced that financing has been agreed for the Central African Republic (CAR) component of the Central Africa Backbone (CAB) project. The AfDB will provide EUR16.7 million (USD20 million) for the project, while the EU will grant an additional EUR16.6 million. The project will enable CAR to begin the operations and development of its national fibre-optic backbone and provide it with its first international fibre routes with neighbouring Cameroon and Congo. The project is to be implemented over the period 2018-2021, and will comprise the deployment of 1,000km of fibre-optic cable along the following two routes: Bangui-Boali-Bossembele-Yaloke-Bawi-Baoro-Carnot-Berberati-Gamboula-Kentzou (interlinking with Cameroon); and Bangui-Berberati-Nola-Bayanga-Bomassa (Congo). There are also plans to establish a local urban loop of 50km in Bangui. The project’s executing agency, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), will soon launch a call for applications for a company to manage the national backbone. The private partner will be responsible for the technical operation of the national fibre-optic backbone and the marketing of available capacity for interested operators.

GTT Communications has agreed to acquire Amsterdam-based provider of high-speed network connectivity Custom Connect, to enhance its worldwide Tier 1 IP backbone with additional European and Middle Eastern PoPs. GTT purchased Custom Connect for an undisclosed sum. According to GTT, the Custom Connect acquisition will also increase GTT’s sales presence in the Benelux region, as well as amplify GTT’s ultra-low latency services portfolio with low latency service from Frankfurt (Germany) to London (UK), New York and Chicago (US). Rick Calder, GTT president and CEO, said: ‘The acquisition of Custom Connect extends GTT’s network and strengthens our service offerings in high growth financial markets. These enhanced capabilities reinforce GTT’s market leadership in cloud networking and our commitment to connecting people – across organisations and around the world.’

Logix Communications has wrapped up its acquisition of Dallas-based Alpheus Communications for an undisclosed sum, thus expanding its offerings in the DASH (Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston) markets. The new provider, which rebranded as Logix Fiber Networks, now has more than 5,800 route miles of network, serves over 12,500 business and carrier customers and connects to 75 data centres in Texas. Equity investors in the transaction comprised the existing ownership group led by Astra, as well as Astra Partners I and other co-investment partners, including Portfolio Advisors. Affiliates of SunTrust, Credit Suisse and Brightwood Capital provided the financing commitment and acted as joint lead arrangers on the debt placement.

German cable operator Unitymedia is upgrading its network with flexible grid capabilities and deploying Ciena’s WaveLogic Ai coherent solution. With the higher channel capacities of up to 400Gbps on a single wavelength, Unitymedia can deliver up to four times the bandwidth within the same infrastructure and site environment. Unitymedia will also use a number of services from Ciena’s Specialist Services Portfolio, such as installation, operation and testing.

Interxion Holding will expand capacity in seven European cities to meet customer demand for colocation services. Interxion will construct its third Madrid data centre (MAD3), add a second Brussels data centre (BRU2), and expand current data centres in Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Paris (France), Copenhagen (Denmark), Stockholm (Sweden) and Vienna (Austria). All of the expansion projects will be funded through a combination of existing and internally generated cash, along with committed credit facilities, says the company.

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Central African Republic, Mauritius, Réunion, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Aqua Communications (AquaComms), Ciena Corporation, GTT Communications, IOX Cable Ltd, LOGIX Communications, Meta (incl. Facebook), Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), SubCom, Unitymedia

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