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

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5 Oct 2018

SAEx International has selected Nokia’s Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) to begin survey activities for a 25,000km system from South Africa to the US. ASN will deliver the full end-to-end project, including network design, manufacturing, installation and commissioning of the cable. The South Atlantic Express (SAEx) system has been in development since 2012, though MD Rosalind Thomas said that the business underwent a major restructuring in 2014 with new shareholders introduced. Phase 1 of the revised project (SAEx-1), which will extend from Mtunzini (South Africa) to Virginia Beach in the US, will offer branches to Saint Helena island (at Georgetown and Jamestown) and Brazil (Fortaleza) and cost an estimated USD480 million. Under stage 1A, the company will deploy a cable from Mtunzini via Cape Town to a point adjacent to Fortaleza (Brazil) and leave a stubbed branching unit facing the US; under stage 1B, SAEx International will roll out the branching unit to the US (Virginia Beach). Phase 2 (SAEx-2), which could cost up to a further USD300 million, will extend the system from Mtunzini to India and the Malaysian peninsula via a four-fibre pair system with minimum design capacity of 48Tbps. The SAEx system will have an overall ultimate capacity design of up to 108Tbps and will be ready for service (RFS) in Q1 2021 (SAEx-1) and Q2 2021 (SAEx-2). The development comes shortly after SAEx International inked a deal with Telecom Italia’s Sparkle unit to secure access on the Seabras-1 cable, on which Sparkle owns three of the six available fibre pairs. Sparkle bought that capacity in 2016 as part of a USD300 million investment.

Vietnamese operator VNPT has revealed that it is currently constructing a cable landing station for the Southeast Asia-Japan Cable 2 (SJC2) in Quy Nhon, located in the Binh Dinh province of Vietnam, VNMedia writes. The 10,500km cable system will connect eleven landing sites in Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, Korea and Japan. The SJC2 cable will feature up to eight pairs of high capacity optical fibre with a total design capacity of 144Tbps. The SJC2 consortium – including Singtel, China Mobile International, Chunghwa Telecom, Chuan Wei, Facebook, KDDI, SK Broadband and VNPT – signed an agreement with NEC Corporation to build the submarine cable in March 2018. The system is scheduled for completion by Q4 2020.

Puerto Rico’s governor Ricardo Rosello Nevares has revealed that the Phoenix Fund has acquired 13Gbps of capacity on the BRUSA submarine cable, El Nuevo Dia writes. The 11,200km cable system – owned and operated by Telefonica’s infrastructure arm Telxius – will connect Virginia Beach, Virginia (US); San Juan (Puerto Rico); and Fortaleza and Rio de Janeiro (both Brazil). The company invested USD30 million in the system. Further, the Puerto Rican government is aiming to use the infrastructure as a basis for a project for the rollout of a submarine cable traversing Puerto Rico to avoid dependence on infrastructure that reaches the San Juan metropolitan area in the event of disasters. The first alternative connection point would be in the Ponce area and other connections would later be evaluated in areas with high industrial and commercial activity, Nevares added. The Puerto Rico bypass cable would cost around USD130 million, according to estimates contained in the Governor’s report to the Congress on the reconstruction of Puerto Rico.

Infinera has finalised its acquisition of Germany-based SDN equipment manufacturer Coriant from Marlin Equity Partners and Oaktree Capital Management for USD430 million. Infinera issued 20.975 million shares of its common stock and will pay an aggregate amount of cash consideration consisting of approximately USD230 million, of which approximately USD154 million was paid upon closing. Infinera CEO Tom Fallon said: ‘The acquisition of Coriant is a major milestone, expanding the scope of our vertical integration strategy across a powerful suite of packet optical solutions for our customers. The acquisition immediately strengthens our ability to serve a global customer base and accelerates delivery of the innovative solutions our customers demand.’ Infinera’s acquisition of Coriant adds approximately 2,100 employees, over 1,600 patents and more than 600 customers globally to Infinera.

GTT Communications has continued its string of acquisitions with the closing of a cash-and-stock deal to buy Cary-based Access Point. GTT paid an aggregate USD40 million for the assets, with USD35 million paid in cash and the remainder via 115,194 shares of stock valued at USD5 million. Rick Calder, GTT president and CEO, said: ‘Access Point’s strong client relationships in key vertical markets make it a compelling strategic fit for GTT. We expect a rapid integration as we work with our new clients to deliver on our purpose of connecting people across organisations, around the world and to every application in the cloud.’ Other notable GTT acquisitions since 2016 include global telecoms solutions provider Hibernia Networks (announced in November 2016), New York-based provider of managed services Perseus (June 2017), US-based service provider Global Capacity (June 2017), Amsterdam-based provider of high-speed network connectivity Custom Connect (January 2018), London-based Interoute Communications (February 2018) and Canada’s Accelerated Connections (March 2018).

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