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

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8 Jun 2018

Super SEA Cable Networks (SEAX), in partnership with Huawei International and Huawei Marine Networks, has announced that following successful completion of construction and end-to-end testing, the SEA Cable Exchange-1 SEAX-1 (SEAX-1) system has achieved ready for provisional acceptance (RFPA) status on 29 May 2018. The 250km SEAX-1 is a 24-fibre pair submarine cable that will connect Mersing (Malaysia), Tanah Merah (Singapore), and Batam (Indonesia). Construction of the system was announced in September 2016 by SEAX, in collaboration with its partners PT Super Sistem Ultima (Indonesia) and SACOFA (Malaysia). Joseph Lim, Chief Executive Officer of SEAX, said: ‘Service on SEAX-1 will significantly enhance direct communication between Malaysia and Indonesia and Singapore and lay the foundation for SEAX’s broader plans to provide the ASEAN region with readily-accessible, high-capacity, robust and diverse connectivity options. SEAX’s network plan will help establish the ASEAN region as a broadband corridor in line with the ICT’s ASEAN Cooperation goals, providing an engine of growth for the region.’

El Gestor de Infraestructuras de Telecomunicaciones de Guinea Ecuatorial (GITGE), which manages the country’s fibre-optic infrastructure on behalf of the government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, has announced the inauguration of the Ceiba-2 Submarine Cable System, Business Ghana writes. Utilising Huawei Marine’s Wavelength Division Multiplex (WDM) and Optical Transport Network (OTN) technologies, the 290km cable, with an initial design capacity of 4Tbps, connects the capital city Malabo, on the northern coast of Bioko island, to Bata on the mainland, with a branching unit towards Kribi (Cameroon). The link via Kribi will enable Equatorial Guinea to connect to other submarine cable systems including WACS, SAT-3 and Main One. It will also provide redundancy for existing traffic on Ceiba-1, the direct link between Malabo and Bata, and the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable branch to Bata.

Pan-African telecommunications company SEACOM has upgraded its key submarine network system from its southern and eastern African coastline landings into Europe at a total capacity of 1.5Tbps, adding 500G of new capacity on the system. SEACOM said the latest upgrade, after a previous one of another 500G about 18 months ago, was in line with its focus on driving the development of the African internet and opening the broadband tap for African service providers and business users. The company said: ‘The upgrade increases available capacity in SEACOM’s key markets: Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and South Africa. The solution will allow SEACOM to deliver requirements for high capacity connectivity in very short timeframes and provide for future demands.’

Repair works on the Asia America Gateway (AAG) cable has been completed three days ahead of schedule. According to a representative of the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), the system encountered a technical problem on 22 May, with repairs beginning three days later. Previously, the AAG system experienced a fault on the system’s ‘S1’ section close to Vietnam following a reconfiguration of the cable system in early January.

Telefonica’s infrastructure subsidiary Telxius has inaugurated a new operations centre for its international submarine cable network in the district of Miraflores in Peru’s capital Lima. The plant will oversee 87,000km of submarine networks managed by Telxius, including SAM-1, PCCS, Unisur, MAREA and the in-deployment BRUSA cable due to enter services in 2Q18.

Microsoft has deployed a submarine-like data centre into the waters off the coast of Orkney, a group of islands located off Scotland. The underwater data centre was built by Microsoft’s Natick, a project dedicated to making environmentally-friendly facilities. The company’s unit contains twelve racks of computers with a total of 864 servers. It will be powered by an underwater cable linked back to the EMEC in Orkney. The tech giant said the unit can hold data and process information for up to five years without maintenance.

The final bidding guidelines for Mexico’s 25,000km wholesale fibre-optic backbone network Red Troncal are scheduled to be released in mid-June, Lexology writes. The project will include the award of a contract for the deployment, operation and maintenance of a pair of dark fibre-optic strands owned by state-owned electric utility CFE, with the contractor bearing all costs related with the project. Simultaneously, the winning bidder will receive a licence to render wholesale broadband access services with a 30-year renewable term. It is understood that an invitation for bids would be issued in September 2018, with the tender award set to be announced in October/November.

Lastly, Prysmian Group and General Cable Corporation have announced that Prysmian has completed its acquisition of General Cable. Pursuant to the terms of a merger agreement signed in December 2017, Prysmian has acquired all the outstanding shares of General Cable common stock for USD30.00 per share in cash. With the completion of the transaction, General Cable has become a privately held company, and therefore its shares will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or any other public market.

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Equatorial Guinea, Mexico, GITGE, HMN Tech (formerly Huawei Marine), Microsoft, Prysmian Group, SEACOM, Telefonica, Telxius, VNPT-Vinaphone