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

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23 Feb 2018

The Kativik Regional Government (KRG) has awarded a contract to WFN Strategies to provide cable route survey support for the proposed Eastern Arctic Undersea Fibre Optic Network (EAUFON). The planned submarine cable with landing points at multiple communities in Canada’s Nunavik region has an initial ready for service (RFS) date of 2020 with multiple extensions planned subsequently. Although final funding has not yet been approved, initial work is already underway to ensure route survey is completed in 2018. Jennifer Watkins, Chairperson of the KRG, said: ‘As the Kativik Regional Government (KRG) begins its 40th year of offering public services within Nunavik, we are excited about this project and its end result of greatly reducing the digital divide between the north and the south. This proposed submarine cable will ensure high speed internet for generations to come.’

Wholesale carrier Angola Cables has announced that US-based FiberLight will provide it with backhaul connectivity in the US, starting with Miami (Florida) and later expanding to other locations. This partnership will enable the delivery of Monet derived services to a wider range of clients and markets. The recently completed 10,556km Monet cable linking Florida to Brazil is capable of delivering a minimum of 64Tbps of capacity, providing a low-latency route to users in the US and Latin America. Angola Cables operates two fibre-optic pairs within the Monet cable system, one transmitting data from Fortaleza, Brazil to US shores and the other carrying traffic to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Antonio Nunes, CEO of Angola Cables, said: ‘FiberLight is a widely-respected fibre-optic based entity focused on supplying high performance connectivity services to multiple locations. The link-up with FiberLight will allow Angola Cables to deliver reliable, high graded services beyond the Monet cable termination point of MI3 Equinix and the data centre in Boca Raton at Equinix’s MI1 colocation facility in Miami, Florida.’ FiberLight currently owns more than 1.9 million miles of dense fibre-optic infrastructure over a growing footprint of US metropolitan areas.

Brazilian telecommunications services provider Sumicity is expanding coverage of its DWDM networks in Southeast Brazil leveraging Padtec technologies, including transponders, optical amplifiers and dual-track protection systems. The project will extend Sumicity’s optical backbone to the state of Espirito Santo. In addition to this new route, Sumicity has recently lit another optical ring, between the municipalities of Campos and Itaperuna. Sumicity currently has 380km of optical networks, with terminations in the municipalities of Campos, Itaperuna and Cachoeiro do Itapemirim.

Malta Enterprise is accepting bids until 8 March for a turnkey contract for the construction of a second telecoms link to the island of Gozo, Times of Malta writes. Under the terms and conditions of the tender, the EUR3.5 million (USD4.3 million) project is to be completed within nine months of the contract being signed. The rollout will consist of a terrestrial and submarine sections, with the proposed route including a 3.6km terrestrial link from Xewkija industrial estate to Tal-Fessej, 13km submarine link to Golden Bay and a 4.3km extension to Zebbiegh. An unutilised pipeline is being proposed as the cable duct in order to minimise disturbances.

Congo Telecom has reportedly completed a new 500km fibre-optic network between the capital Brazzaville and Pointe Noire via Dolisie under the Projet de Couverture National (PCN). The national coordinator of the PCN project said that the buried terrestrial link between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire has now been completed and tested, and that the DWDM network is equipped at 200Gbps. This is the second network to connect the two locations, as Congo Telecom is utilising the aerial fibre-optic network of national electricity company Societe Nationale d’Electricite (SNE) between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire since January 2013. In addition, the Central Africa Backbone (CAB) project to construct a fibre route from Pointe Noire to Mbinda on the border with Gabon via Dolisie has also now been completed.

Elsewhere in Africa, Nimbus Infrastructure, which acquired a stake in Paratus Africa in February 2018, is currently in the process of deploying a Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) route, which is scheduled to be completed and operational by the end of May 2018. The new network will provide capacity from the WACS submarine cable landing station at Swakopmund to the Namibian capital of Windhoek, in addition to Botswana (via Buitepos) and Zambia (via Ngoma and Sesheke). The first phase of the deployment of the Namibia-Botswana fibre route from Windhoek to Swakopmund was reportedly completed in November 2017, while the second phase from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay was expected to be completed in January 2018; the third phase from Windhoek to Buitepos is expected to reach completion by April 2018. The fibre link across the Caprivi strip from Ngoma in Botswana to Sesheke in Zambia was completed in August 2017. Between Buitepos and Ngoma, Paratus has concluded agreements with Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) for the purchase of dark fibre capacity and transit capacity across Botswana.

Lastly, North-eastern US fibre provider FirstLight has announced that Antin Infrastructure Partners has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire FirstLight from Oak Hill Capital Partners IV for an undisclosed sum. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2018, following the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including required regulatory approvals. The agreement has been approved by FirstLight’s Board of Directors and Antin’s Investment Committee. FirstLight CEO Kurt Van Wagenen commented: ‘Antin is an experienced fibre investor and an ideal partner to support our growth strategy. With this acquisition, FirstLight remains well positioned to continue providing the highest levels of service and expanded offerings to enterprise and carrier customers.’ Bank Street Group and TD Securities served as lead financial advisors to FirstLight and Oak Hill in connection with the transaction, while UBS Investment Bank served as financial advisor to Antin.

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