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

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2 Feb 2018

TE Subsea Communications (TE SubCom) has contracted Fugro to carry out a cable route survey for the proposed HAVFRUE cable system. The survey will commence on 9 February and is expected to take four weeks to complete. The new submarine cable – to be owned and operated by a consortium comprising Aqua Communications (AquaComms), Bulk Infrastructure, Facebook and others – 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 8,179km 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. The cable is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in Q4 2019.

Elsewhere, TE SubCom has signed a contract with Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC) to build a warehouse at Matautu wharf, Radio New Zealand writes. A submarine maintenance vessel will also be based at the facility to maintain and service submarine cables in the Pacific region. The Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Lepuiai Rico Tupa’I, disclosed that Samoa competed with other companies for the contract: ‘Of course we will benefit from the fees. It is a one of its kind in the Pacific and because of our central location in the Pacific Ocean; it is accessible to our Pacific neighbours.’

Spain’s National Commission for Markets and Competition (Comision Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, CNMC) has announced that the submarine cable route between the Spanish peninsula and the Canary Islands has been deregulated, following a public consultation held in June 2017. The CNMC said that Canalink – the only cable operator providing an alternative to the incumbent Telefonica – has become the operator with the largest share of the wholesale market. With this situation said to have led to considerable price reductions of the capacity handled over the route, especially in Gran Canaria and Tenerife. However, the regulator added that existing obligations would remain in place for nine submarine routes connecting the smaller islands of the Balearic and Canary archipelagos, in addition to submarine routes connecting Ceuta and Melilla to the Spanish peninsula.

Global Marine has been contracted to undertake an emergency repair to the Apollo South fibre-optic cable, with the CS Sovereign ship scheduled to arrive on site on 28 January 2018. Subject to further fault investigation on arrival and weather/other operational conditions, the duration of the cable repair will take approximately five days. The 13,000km system comprises two branches; Apollo North connects Bude (UK) with Shirley, New York (US), while Apollo South lands at Lannion (France) and Manasquan, New Jersey (US).

Zayo Group Holdings has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire all of the assets of long-haul infrastructure provider Neutral Path Communications and Near North Partners for USD31.5 million. The takeover will add 452 owned plus additional leased route miles to Zayo’s North American network, including a unique, high-count fibre route from Minneapolis to Omaha. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. The purchase price is subject to net working capital and other customary adjustments, as well as a contingent payment based on sales performance through 30 June 2018.

LOGIX Fiber Networks, the largest Texas based independent fibre-optic network provider, is increasing its network reach via a USD10 million purchase and exchange of fibre assets with FiberLight. Under the deal, LOGIX will gain nearly 400 route miles and over 5,000 miles of fibre in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. Additionally, the two companies will exchange approximately 1,500 fibre miles within their respective Texas footprints. LOGIX CEO Dave Dane said: ‘The transaction follows our recent acquisition of Alpheus Communications and further bolsters our scale of fibre assets. This expanded reach will greatly enhance our fibre initiatives and allow LOGIX to further capitalise on the enormous growth opportunities in our core markets.’

Conterra Ultra Broadband Holdings has inked an agreement to acquire Louisiana-based regional fibre-optic providers Network USA and Sun America (combined NUSA). The transaction will increase Conterra’s fibre presence in Louisiana and Texas by nearly 3,000 miles, expanding its regional fibre footprint throughout the Gulf Coast/East Texas region and providing entry into two new states: Arkansas and Mississippi. The NUSA fibre network is complementary to the assets of Conterra’s previously announced acquisition of Louisiana-based network services provider Detel Communications.

Lastly, African telecoms group Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet Wireless Global, has increased the capacity and doubled the size of its carrier-neutral data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town (South Africa). The investment, totalling ZAR1.3 billion (USD110 million) over the past twelve months, is intended to help meet growing demand for server space from local and international cloud providers, the company told TechCentral.

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