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

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15 Jun 2018

China Mobile International (CMI) has announced its Bay to Bay Express (BtoBE) submarine cable investment project, which will connect Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau and the San Francisco Bay Area, and extend southward to Singapore. The memorandum of cooperation was signed by CMI and the consortium members in January this year, with construction work expected to start in July. The BtoBE system will have a total capacity of 108Tbps and is scheduled to come into operation in 2021. CMI’s fibre on the BtoBE system will be linked to the Southeast Asia-Japan 2 (SJC2) submarine cable, currently scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in Q4 2020, to provide onward connectivity to Southeast Asia. In addition, the BtoBE cable system will connect to CMI’s three international data centres in Hong Kong, Singapore and the US, forming a ring among the key markets in the region.

Chile is open to collaborating with other countries to build a 24,000km submarine cable connecting the South American country with China, and has already received interest from French Polynesia, according to Pamela Gidi, head of Chile’s Department of Telecommunications (Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones, Subtel). As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in June 2017 Subtel revealed the completion of a technical pre-feasibility study conducted by Chinese vendor Huawei. According to the study, the infrastructure could traverse three possible routes: Valparaiso (Chile) to Shanghai (China) via Juan Fernandez, Easter Island, Auckland (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia); Valparaiso to Shanghai, via Juan Fernandez, Easter Island and Tahiti (French Polynesia); and Punta Arenas (Chile) to Shanghai via Auckland.

Cabo Verde Telecom (CVT) has inked a binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the developers of the EllaLink (previously known as EulaLink) project – aiming to provide the first direct submarine fibre-optic cable between Europe and Latin America in 2020 – to deliver subsea fibre connectivity to the island nation of Cape Verde. As currently planned, EllaLink will bring 72Tbps of connectivity between the two continents via four fibre pairs. The 10,119km-long EllaLink will land at Sines in Portugal and at Praia Grande near Sao Paolo (Brazil), with branches to Fortaleza (Brazil), Madeira and Cape Verde. Brazilian state-owned telecoms infrastructure provider Telebras will have a 35% stake in the cable and Spain’s IslaLink will hold 45%, while pan-European equity fund Marguerite II signed an agreement in May 2018 to join the EllaLink submarine cable system as a new sponsor. The system will be deployed by Nokia’s Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) unit.

Equinix has announced that the Vocus-run Australia-Singapore Cable (ASC) – which is almost complete, with an RFS date of July 2018 – will be accessible in its International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres in Singapore and six Australian metropolitan cities, including the cable landing station in Perth and PoPs in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane. The 4,600km ASC cable will link Perth to Singapore via Jakarta in Indonesia, with an onward spur to the Christmas Islands; the cable will boast a minimum of four fibre pairs with a design capacity of 40Tbps. Vocus Group CEO Kevin Russell said: ‘The Vocus terrestrial network has vast reach throughout Australia, New Zealand and now into Asia. Combining the extensive interconnection ecosystems in Equinix, with the far-reaching Vocus network, we will provide customers with easy and low-cost access to all of their partners from Singapore to major metropolitan cities in Australia.’

SEACOM has upgraded its submarine cable system which connects South Africa to Europe. The upgrade has added 500Gbps of capacity on the route, bringing the total to 1.5Tbps. The cable was last upgraded 18 months ago, when capacity was increased from 500Gbps to 1Tbps. The company said in a press release: ‘The upgrade increases available capacity in SEACOM’s key markets of 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.’

Lastly, Zimbabwean fixed line incumbent TelOne has completed a 600km fibre link from the capital Harare to Beitbridge on the border with South Africa. TelOne first started work on the network in 2011, under the National Broadband Project (NBB). The system comprises two separate fibre routes – Harare-Bulawayo-Beitbridge and Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge – totalling 1,340km. In September 2017, the operator announced that it had completed the 330km fibre link from Bulawayo to Beitbridge.

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