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

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26 Oct 2018

Peace Cable International Network and Huawei Marine Networks have announced that the Pakistan East Africa Cable Express (PEACE) cable aiming to link South Asia (via Pakistan) and East Africa (via Djibouti and Kenya) has entered its cable and material manufacturing stage. The contract for the cable manufacturing had been awarded to HENGTONG Marine, which had supplied submarine cables to the FOA project (Chile), PNG (Papua New Guinea), Avassa (Comoros), NaSCOM (the Maldives), Megacable (Mexico) and IGW (Peru). The first phase of the PEACE project will connect 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 12,000km. The 200G subsea cabling system – expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020 – will boast a capacity of 16Tbps for each fibre pair and will offer the shortest route from China to Europe and Africa. The system will be an open-access solution and will make use of carrier neutral data centres in the region, with specified landing stations in the Seychelles and Somalia. Zhang Hongxiang, project delivery director at Huawei Marine, said: ‘We are glad to work with this creative network, which is open to connect along the route on any of the potential points, however with the commerce of cable manufacture, such extensions are dependent on the plan of work. Players who get on board soon will secure better flexibility on this network.’

The Djibouti Africa Regional Express 1 (DARE1) consortium – currently composed of Djibouti Telecom and Somtel, part of the Dahabshiil Group – has announced that the supply contract for the DARE1 submarine cable system has come into force, with TE SubCom as a supplier. The 5,400km DARE1 submarine cable system is the first step in a planned expansion into eastern Africa, which connects Djibouti (Djibouti), Mogadishu (Somalia) and Mombasa (Kenya) and delivers up to 30Tbps of capacity. Future options for expansion of the cable include major coastal cities in the Somali territories and other countries in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. The DARE1 cable is configured as a three-fibre pair trunk, with each fibre pair delivering a cross-sectional capacity of 150 channels at 100Gbps. DARE1 will include diversified PoPs with options for future connectivity via TE SubCom’s optical ROADM product line. The cable will also connect to the global network via multiple cable systems in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. M Mohamed Assoweh Bouh, Djibouti Telecom’s General Manager, said: ‘We are pleased to partner with Somtel and Dahabshiil Group to further develop the region. With high-capacity and low-latency, the DARE1 system will offer an alternative route to East Africa and the Horn of Africa… We look forward to expanding DARE1 into other regions.’

Angola Cables has entered into a strategic business partnership with Silica Networks in Argentina and Silica Networks in Chile to connect their terrestrial fibre networks to the newly commissioned South Atlantic Cable System (SACS). Silica Networks provides connectivity between Argentina, Brazil and Chile via a network that crosses the Andes in four points, and approaches Sao Paulo by one terrestrial and one submarine route. SACS will be Silica Networks’ preferred route in the Southern Hemisphere, providing fibre operators and content providers in Argentina and Chile with a direct routing between South America and Africa, with onward connections to markets in Asia. As part of this strategic initiative, the interconnection of the fibre-optic networks of both companies will result in access to the Pacific via Santiago de Chile, via Las Toninas in Buenos Aires, Argentina and SACS through Fortaleza, Brazil and across the Atlantic to Africa.

Telefonica’s infrastructure arm Telxius has established a PoP in QTS Realty Trust’s Richmond data centre. QTS Richmond is the closest Tier 3 data centre to the new Virginia Beach Cable Landing Station (VBCLS) located in Telxius’ Virginia Beach distribution hub, which houses the MAREA and BRUSA cable systems. The MAREA submarine cable – stretching 6,600km across the Atlantic Ocean from Bilbao (Spain) to Virginia (US) – is a joint project between Telxius, Facebook and Microsoft, while the 11,200km BRUSA cable system – owned and operated by Telxius – will connect Virginia Beach, San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Fortaleza and Rio de Janeiro (both Brazil) when it enters service by the end of 2018. Guillermo Canete, Senior Network Planning Director at Telxius, said: ‘We aim at effectively connecting BRUSA and MAREA to the main data centres in the world and this Tier 3 data centre space, the closest of its kind to the MAREA and BRUSA landing station in Virginia Beach, fits in perfectly with our plans.’

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has launched a public consultation on the method for determining the charges for accessing submarine cable bandwidth levied by owners of cable landing stations (CLS), the Hindu Business Line writes. In 2012 the TRAI slashed the charges levied by CLS’ owners for granting access to the facility to domestic operators to one-tenth of the existing tariff, a move which was subsequently challenged by Tata Communications and Bharti Airtel. In July 2018 the Madras High Court cancelled the tariff fixed by TRAI in 2012 due ‘to a lack of transparency’, and on 8 October the Supreme Court directed the regulator to revise the calculation method within six weeks. TRAI has set a deadline of 29 October for comments, with an open discussion on the topic scheduled for 5 November.

Russian telecoms operator TransTeleCom Company (TTK) and Kazakhstan’s Transtelecom have implemented a joint project to launch a new cross-border network transition, Telecom Daily writes. The WDM gateway links the Aksaraisk station on the Russian side and the D. Nurpeisova station in Kazakhstan. Parviz Sharipov, head of the representative office of Transtelecom, said: ‘The partnership with the Russian backbone operator TTK is important for us. The geographical location makes the company’s networks the best route for traffic transit between Europe and Asia, and performance standards ensure high reliability and minimal signal delay. We are confident that the successful and mutually beneficial cooperation of our companies will develop, and the portfolio of services rendered jointly will grow.’

Quantum Xchange has selected Zayo Group Holdings for a dark fibre solution to power the first Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) network in the US. The 530-mile route will extend from Boston to Washington DC, leveraging Zayo’s existing network along the eastern corridor. Quantum Xchange plans to deploy the dedicated dark fibre to activate the initial leg of its nationwide network, connecting the financial markets on Wall Street with back office operations in New Jersey.

French optical transport solutions firm Ekinops has confirmed that it is holding preliminary talks with Nokia over the potential acquisition of Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN). Ekinops issued a short statement saying: ‘The company confirms that it has initiated preliminary discussions with Nokia Corporation regarding a possible acquisition of Alcatel Submarine Networks. There is no certainty at this stage that these discussions can lead to any agreement or any operation.’ The ASN unit was acquired by the Finnish equipment vendor in 2015 as part of its EUR15.6 billion (USD17.8 billion) acquisition of French rival Alcatel-Lucent. The division has been on Nokia’s disposal list since 2017.

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