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

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6 Apr 2018

A consortium including RTI Connectivity (RTI-C), AARNet and Google – in partnership with Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) and NEC Corporation – have announced that the construction of the Japan-Guam-Australia Cable System (JGA) has officially commenced. The 9,500km submarine fibre-optic cable system will deliver a design capacity of more than 36Tbps and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019. JGA will comprise two distinct segments; JGA South (JGA-S) between Sydney, Australia and Piti (Guam) will be owned and operated by a consortium including AARNet, Google and RTI-C. JGA North (JGA-N), the segment between the Minami-Boso (Japan) and Piti, is a private cable with RTI-C as the sole purchaser. Both JGA-N and JGA-S will interconnect in Guam at GTA’s newly built landing station. RTI-C’s investment in JGA will be built utilising capital from the Fund Corporation for the Overseas Development of Japan’s ICT and Postal Services (Japan ICT Fund), along with syndicated loans from Japanese financial institutions, including NEC Capital Solutions.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a total of USD36.6 million in grants to help fund the delivery of internet services in Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Tarawa and Kiritimati Island (Kiribati) and Nauru, The Financial writes. The assistance, comprised of a USD21.6 million grant to Kiribati and a USD15 million grant to Nauru, is part of the Improving Internet Connectivity for Micronesia Project. Under the programme, a submarine cable connection will be deployed between Kiritimati Island to a proposed transpacific cable system connecting Australia and Hawaii, while financing Nauru’s share of the East Micronesia Cable (EMC) System. The EMC system will be co-financed by the World Bank and ADB.

Huawei Marine has announced the kick-off of Phase II of its Sorsogon-Samar Submarine Fibre Optical Interconnection Project (SSSFOIP) for the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). The SSSFOIP system is located in the San Bernardino Strait, linking Sorsogon (the southernmost province on Luzon) to the island of Samar. The NGCP held a public tender in 2016 for the submarine cable project, which was won by Huawei Marine. The first phase survey was completed in 2016. Phase II features a submarine cable with a 12.8Tbps design capacity that will be completed in Q3 2018. Ferdinand Dicon, Senior Manager of the Network Telecoms Division at the NGCP, said: ‘The transmission line between Sorsogon-Samar is an important branch of the network for the country. During the first phase of exploration, Huawei Marine demonstrated their project delivery capabilities and experience as a world-class turnkey submarine cable supplier. We believe that in the second phase of construction, Huawei Marine will successfully deploy their leading-edge product technology with their customer focus support services.’

Crosslake Fibre has selected Hexatronic Cables & Interconnect Systems of Sweden to supply the high-fibre-count submarine fibre-optic cable for its 58km submarine cable directly connecting Toronto (Canada) with Buffalo (New York, US) via Lake Ontario, while Maritech International has been awarded the contract to construct the Horizontal Directional Drilled (HDD) shore ends for the system. Crosslake claims that the new 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 October 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 has also announced plans for a submarine cable system, called Wall-LI connecting cable landing stations in Wall (New Jersey) to Long Island (New York) with RFS date of June 2019.

The African Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable which runs along the west coast of Africa between France and South Africa, has reportedly experienced a fault. According to unconfirmed reports, the damage occurred near Noukachott (Mauritania), with roughly ten of its landing sites suffering ‘significant disruptions’.

Brazil’s national service provider Eletronet has selected Seaborn Networks and its international submarine fibre-optic cable system Seabras-1 connecting Sao Paulo (Brazil) to New York (US) to provide Tier 1 dedicated internet access in Brazil. Eletronet has 155 PoPs and 16,000km of fibre capacity, providing wavelength and Ethernet services to ISPs throughout Brazil.

TE SubCom has commenced the construction of a cable landing facility in Los Angeles (US), which will serve multiple submarine cables in Southern California. The project will use horizontal directional drilling to install bore pipes for the shore-end landing due to the minimal impact this type of operation has on the environment of the beach and tidal area.

Nimbus Infrastructure, which acquired a stake in Paratus Africa in February 2018, has announced that it has completed its fibre-optic routes from the Namibian capital of Windhoek to Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, with the two routes now in service. The new networks are part of the 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 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; by the end of March, Paratus had deployed cables from Windhoek to Witvlei.

The Central African Republic (CAR) has commenced the construction of its national fibre backbone network, which will 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 consist of the laying of a 1,000km network along 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 African Development Bank (AfDB) will provide EUR16.7 million (USD20 million) for the CAR’s component of the Central Africa Backbone (CAB) project, while the EU will grant an additional EUR16.6 million. Currently, operators in CAR use microwave and satellite transmission for their national and international bandwidth.

Elsewhere in Africa, Gabon and Congo will officially interconnect their fibre-optic backbone networks –deployed under the CAB project – today (6 April 2018), Agence Ecofin writes. Under Phase I of the CAB project, 1,100km of fibre cabling was deployed in Gabon by China Communication Service International (CCSI), to the tune of USD33 million (co-financed by the World Bank). Component 3 of the CAB meanwhile saw the deployment of 560km of fibre-optic cabling in Congo by Huawei (USD15 million).

Interdata, a systems and infrastructure integrator based in the Paris metropolitan area, has selected Zayo Group Holdings for dark fibre infrastructure in France. Zayo will add approximately 50km of new fibre to its existing network for the project. The solution includes two diverse, dark fibre rings connecting the company’s data centers in Paris and Nozay.

Lastly, emerging US dark fibre provider Dark Fiber and Infrastructure (DF&I) is acquiring USA Fiber’s Northern Virginia and Maryland fibre and conduit assets for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition and specifically the Potomac River crossing establishes DF&I’s initial position in the region as it moves forward to provide the area’s most direct all underground dark fibre route between Montgomery County (Maryland) and Ashburn (Virginia). The cable system, which was completed in September 2016, will create new supply for core carrier networks, network platforms and diversity in the greater Baltimore/Washington DC metro area.

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Central African Republic, Congo, Rep., Federated States of Micronesia, Gabon, Guam, Kiribati, Namibia, Nauru, Philippines, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Google (Alphabet), HMN Tech (formerly Huawei Marine), NEC, Paratus (Namibia), RAM Telecom International (RTI), Seaborn Networks, SubCom, USA Fiber, Zayo Group

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