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

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4 May 2018

Huawei Marine has revealed that the marine survey for the Pakistan East Africa Cable Express (PEACE) cable linking South Asia (via Pakistan) and East Africa (via Djibouti and Kenya) is underway. Huawei Marine is working with its long-term partner EGS to conduct a hydrographic and geophysical survey of the seabed along the planned cable route. The first phase of the project – spanning approximately 6,800km – will link Pakistan (Gwadar and Karachi), Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya, while the second phase will provide an extended option to South Africa and Europe, with a total length of roughly 13,000km. The project’s backers assert the PEACE submarine network will offer the shortest submarine fibre cable route from China to Africa, with links to Europe via terrestrial fibres. The project financing will be wholly provided by the China Construction Bank. Work on the cable will begin in November, with a ready for service (RFS) date of Q3 2019. The submarine cable system, based on 200G DWDM technology, will boast up to 60Tbps of design capacity.

DOCOMO Pacific is reportedly mulling the disconnection of the fibre-optic cable connecting the unincorporated US territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) – specifically the islands of Saipan, Rota and Tinian – if the government failed to pay the AUD1.3 million (USD970,000) it owed for the service, Radio New Zealand writes. Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU), DOCOMO agreed to link the islands of Tinian and Rota to the ATISA system in 2016 at a fee of AUD650,000 per island. The 279km ATISA fibre-optic submarine cable system comprises six fibre pairs, with initial capacity of 200Gbps for total design capacity of 7.2Tbps using current technology. The system was built by Japan’s NEC Corp, while Ciena provided its GeoMesh solution to deliver 100Gbps wavelengths.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has inked deals with ministers from Kiribati and Nauru to help fund submarine fibre-optic cables to the two countries, Radio New Zealand writes. The bank is providing an AUD21.6 million grant for Kiribati and an AUD15 million grant for Nauru. The initiative is co-financed by the World Bank.

Xtera has announced that Seaborn Networks has selected its C+L band design for the ARBR submarine fibre-optic cable system between Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). The 2,700km ARBR branch, which is being developed jointly by Seaborn Networks and the Grupo Werthein de Argentina, will comprise four fibre pairs with an initial maximum design capacity of 44Tbps; the cable is expected to be RFS in 2019, 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 Asia-America Gateway (AAG) system, which links Vietnam to Hong Kong and the US, has experienced a fault between the Philippines and Hong Kong on 29 April. PLDT and Smart have warned their users that they may experience a slowdown in services, adding that they are taking remedial measures before conducting the repair work.

Cable operator Basslink (BPL) has revealed that its dispute with the state of Tasmania will be referred to arbitration, after the two sides were unable to reach a consensus, ZDNet writes. The company said: ‘Unfortunately, the dispute was not resolved, and has led to Basslink being notified by the state … that the dispute is referred to arbitration. Basslink intends to vigorously defend itself in the arbitration and continues to reserve all its rights in this matter.’ TeleGeography notes that the Basslink submarine cable linking mainland Australia to the island state of Tasmania was damaged 98km from the Tasmanian coast on 20 December 2015. The submarine link went back into operation in June 2017, though in early 2018 a report claimed that the fault was caused by BPL exceeding its design limit, which then degraded the cable, a claim which was strongly denied by BPL. The Tasmanian government subsequently said in March 2018 that it will be seeking AUD122 million in compensatory damages from Basslink due to the months-long outage.

Orange Espana and Huawei have completed the construction of what they claim is ‘the first 200Gbps long distance network in Spain’. The network features capacity of up to 96×200Gbps with no degradation of signal over distance of 1,000km. The two companies embarked on the deployment in order to consolidate the IP and DWDM infrastructures, which coexisted after Orange completed a number of mergers, most notably with Spanish fixed line operator Jazztel in August 2015.

Brazil’s national service provider Eletronet has selected *Ciena’s*converged packet optical solution to launch new wavelength services across its national backbone network. Enabled by high-performance capacity of a 100G network that scales to 250G, Eletronet can now deliver high-bandwidth, multi-site connectivity and bundled IP services to its customers across Brazil. With Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, Eletronet can reach up to 22Tbps of capacity. Eletronet has 155 PoPs and 16,000km of fibre capacity, providing wavelength and Ethernet services to ISPs throughout Brazil.

The EQT Infrastructure II Fund has entered into a definitive agreement to sell IslaLink to Canadian infrastructure investor Fiera Infrastructure for an undisclosed sum. IslaLink is an independent and neutral fibre infrastructure provider, which owns and operates the 274km Balalink submarine fibre-optic system connecting the Mediterranean islands of Mallorca and Ibiza with mainland Spain, as well as a terrestrial fibre ring in Mallorca. Closing of the transaction is subject to customary antitrust approval.

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