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

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26 Jan 2018

The Hong Kong-Americas (HKA) consortium – including China Telecom, China Unicom, Facebook, Tata Communications and Telstra – has signed a turnkey contract with Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) for the deployment of the Hong Kong Americas (HKA) submarine cable network, which will span more than 13,000km. The HKA system will feature six fibre pairs and will span from Chung Hom Kok in Hong Kong to Hermosa Beach in California; additional connectivity options may be exercised in the future. The cable is scheduled to be operational in 2020. The system will leverage ASN’s submarine WSS ROADM units, the latest generation of repeaters, and will offer high performance and powering resilience, enabling over 80Tbps of transmission capacity.

Elsewhere, HKA consortium member Telstra has announced that it also secured 6Tbps over the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), which will stretch between Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Telstra’s managing director for Global Services and International David Burns said: ‘Together with the current Asia-America Gateway (AAG) cable, on which Telstra carries the most traffic today, these two investments [PLCN and HKA] will provide us with increased capacity across the important Hong Kong-to-US route, one of the fastest-growing routes in the world for capacity demand … Our investment in capacity on PLCN and HKA will also provide our customers with greater resiliency due to bypassing areas prone to natural disasters and offering two direct, alternative paths to the AAG cable which connects South East Asia to the US west coast via Hong Kong, Guam, and Hawaii.’ Telstra is similarly investing in Superloop’s 9,000km Indigo subsea cable system, announced in April last year, which will connect Sydney, Perth, Singapore and Jakarta; the regional consortium building the system comprises Google, SubPartners, Australian research network AARNet and telcos Indosat Ooredoo and Singtel. The Indigo cable will feature two fibre pairs with a design capacity of 18Tbps and is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

Xtera has been selected as the supplier of the ARBR submarine fibre-optic cable system, which is developed jointly by Seaborn Networks and the Grupo Werthein de Argentina. The 2,700km ARBR branch will comprise four fibre pairs with an initial maximum design capacity of 48Tbps; the cable is expected to be ready for service (RFS) in the second half of 2018, with the Argentinian landing station expected to be in or near Las Toninas. The ARBR subsea cable system will allow for direct onward connectivity to New York, via the Seabras-1 system, thereby providing a lower latency route between the commercial and financial centres of Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and New York. The ARBR subsea cable system will utilise Xtera’s submarine repeaters with hybrid EDFA-Raman design, enabling a robust optimised transmission system.

The Pacific islands of Fiji, Tokelau and Kiribati have all secured connections to the 60Tbps NEXT submarine cable linking Australia, New Zealand and the US, ZDNet writes. NEXT developer Southern Cross Cables has announced a ‘major capacity commitment’ from Fijian telecommunications provider Fiji International Telecommunications (FINTEL), along with contracts signed with Tokelau telco Teletok and Kiribati state-owned enterprise BwebwerikiNET. The NEXT project will interconnect with existing Southern Cross systems, as well as 15 cable station and data centre locations currently accessible by Southern Cross Cables across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and the US. The NEXT cable is expected to provide an additional 60Tbps of capacity for customers when completed in 2019, adding to the existing 20Tbps of capacity of the current Southern Cross systems. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Hong Kong-based EGS completed the marine survey for the submarine link – which discovered a more efficient route – in August 2017. The new route traverses Wallis and Futuna rather than following the previously planned path past Tonga.

Singapore-based Campana Group – which operates international gateways across Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore – is looking to raise USD60 million through equity and debt for infrastructure developments, including the construction of the Singapore Myanmar Cable Network (SIGMA), Deal Street Asia writes. The deployment of the SIGMA submarine cable system will be in addition to that of the TARO terrestrial fibre-optic cable from Yangon (Myanmar) to Thailand via the Htee Kee border crossing. The SIGMA network will span 3,700km across Myanmar and Thailand, before reaching Singapore via a subsea route. Myo Ohn, founder and CEO of Campana Group, said that the new network should be completed by mid-2019. Campana MYTHIC – a joint venture of Campana Group – will operate 15 nodes in Myanmar out of the total 40 nodes (including Thailand and Singapore), with the remaining nodes to be managed by various subsidiaries of Campana Group. Ohn said that the TARO cable currently provides 8,000Gbps of capacity in Myanmar, though the launch of the SIGMA network will up the capacity four-fold to 32,000Gbps.

Superloop has indicated that it will be fully integrating submarine cable capacity from the in-deployment Indigo network into its metropolitan fibre networks in Singapore, Perth and Sydney (Australia), providing true PoP to PoP connectivity between over 40 data centres across the three markets. With landing stations in Singapore, Australia and Indonesia, the 9,000km Indigo network – to be constructed by ASN – will also allow connections between Singapore and Jakarta.

AquaComms has announced that it will market and sell capacity services and raw spectrum on its portion of the HAVFRUE cable system under the brand name America Europe Connect-2 (AEC-2), which it said will complement its existing transatlantic cable, America Europe Connect-1 (AEC-1) between New York (US) and Killala (Ireland). The HAVFRUE system – which will offer a cross-sectional cable capacity of 108Tbps – 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. 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 RFS in Q4 2019.

The Asia-America Gateway (AAG) submarine cable is now back in service, after a fault in the cable was repaired on 23 January. According to a representative of the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), the new rupture on the system’s ‘S1’ section close to Vietnam was discovered following a reconfiguration of the AAG cable system in early January. Previously, the AAG system experienced a fault off Hong Kong’s coast on 28 August 2017, 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.

Iraq’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) has confirmed that the government was able to secure additional international capacity through other cable routes to compensate for a shortage following a reported break in the FALCON cable last week. Hazem Mohammed Ali told press that capacity from the alternative sources would make up a large part of the shortfall until the cable is repaired. The repair of the cable is expected to take between one and two weeks, the official added, although cable operator Global Cloud Exchange has yet to publicly comment on the situation.

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) has entered into an agreement with Telia Carrier which will enable it to utilise the Swedish operator’s backbone network. Gaining access to Telia Carrier’s leading tier-1 internet backbone will enable ICE to launch the first 100G IP Transit services for their operation in Central America. Telia Carrier’s global fibre backbone is 100G-enabled in both Europe and North America. The company markets worldwide connectivity via more than 200 PoPs across Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East, with access to Central America offered via the Maya-1 Cable System linking the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia.

Telia Carrier has also revealed that Swedish hosting company GleSYS will be connecting to its 100G global backbone network. Telia Carrier will be providing 100G IP Transport and wavelength network transport services to double available capacity on GleSYS’ current infrastructure, which supports over 4,000 customers in 70 countries.

Ciena has disclosed that its GeoMesh Extreme submarine solution now supports L-Band capabilities and can operate on TE SubCom’s L-Band wet plant system, nearly doubling the information-carrying capacity of a submarine cable. Ciena notes that it has already deployed in the L-Band over terrestrial networks for many years. Submarine cable operators will also benefit from Ciena’s advanced Blue Planet MCP solution that allows for managing the Ciena C/L-Band SLTE and TE SubCom C/L-Band wet plant from a single, unified management platform.

Ericsson has announced that it has achieved speeds of 400Gbps across Telstra’s transmission network in Melbourne in partnership with Ciena. The demonstration, which made use of 61.5GHz spectrum, constituted the highest ever spectral efficiency per fibre pair in a live setting of 30.4Tbps. The previous record was 25.6Tbps, according to the companies.

Coriant has announced that Russian Internet Exchange (IX) provider MSK-IX has selected the Coriant Groove G30 Network Disaggregation Platform to scale its peering infrastructure and enhance the performance of its high-speed communications services, including 100G. The Coriant Groove G30 will be deployed in the MSK-IX backbone network to easily scale service capacity.

Tampnet, provider of data networking to the offshore industry, has selected global cloud networking provider GTT Communications to provide optical transport services to connect its offshore telecoms assets in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico. GTT is providing diversely routed wavelengths over two of its three trans-Atlantic cables, connecting Tampnet data centres in Manchester and Slough (UK), with its facilities in Houston and Dallas (US). The solution – which uses the GTT Express trans-Atlantic cable system – can be scaled up to 100GE.

Lastly, Zayo Group Holdings has acquired Vancouver-based Optic Zoo Networks, which owns and operates high-capacity fibre in Vancouver, for CAD31 million (USD25 million). The transaction strengthens Zayo’s position in Vancouver and Western Canada, adding 103 route miles and more than 100 on-net buildings to Zayo’s Vancouver footprint. Bank Street Group served as exclusive financial advisor to Optic Zoo for the transaction.

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