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

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2 Nov 2018

The INDIGO consortium – comprising Superloop, Telstra, SingTel, Google, Indosat Ooredoo and Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNET) – has completed the landing of the INDIGO-Central submarine cable at Coogee Beach in Sydney (Australia). The 9,200km INDIGO cable system will connect Sydney and Perth (INDIGO-Central) with Singapore and Jakarta (INDIGO-West). According to SubPartners, construction of the 4,850km INDIGO-Central cable remains on track, with the final splice of the INDIGO-Central system set for completion in early December. SingTel’s vice president of Carrier Services for Group Enterprise, Ooi Seng Keat, said: ‘The landing of [the] INDIGO-Central cable by Optus is a landmark development which will boost Australia’s communications ecosystem with much-needed high-speed capacity and network diversity. Together with INDIGO-West, the next-generation INDIGO-Central data superhighway will enhance Singtel and Optus’ subsea networks, creating a cable ring connecting Australia to Singapore, through Southeast Asia, across the Pacific, and back to Australia.’ As reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, deployment work on the first section of the INDIGO-West submarine cable was completed in September, with 2,400km of cabling rolled out from the Christmas Islands to Floreat Beach in Perth. Construction of the second section of the INDIGO-West cable, which will connect Singapore and Indonesia, will start this month and is scheduled for completion in late December. The INDIGO cables are expected to be RFS in Q1 2019.

Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), a subsidiary of Reliance Communications Limited (RCOM), has partnered with PacketFabric to provide 100G trans-Atlantic service from New York (US) to London (UK) via the FLAG Atlantic (FA-1) North submarine cable system. The deal between the two companies will also allow GCX to extend its presence and network reach in the US, where PacketFabric has over 150 PoPs in 18 markets.

Italian infrastructure provider Retelit has announced that the management committee of the Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1) submarine cable consortium has opted to upgrade the network to 200Gbps from the current 100Gbps capabilities. The 25,000km network – owned by a consortium of 19 global service providers – connects Asia, the Middle East, East Africa and Europe. AAE-1 is described as ‘the longest 100Gbps technology-based submarine system’ and offers design capacity of over 40Tbps. The decision to install 200Gbps technology comes 18 months after the activation of AAE-1 and two years ahead of schedule, said Retelit.

Guinean broadband operator Guineenne de la Large Bande SA (GUILAB) and Cabo Verde Telecom have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the deployment of a submarine fibre-optic cable called Cap Amilcar Cabral, following the completion of feasibility studies, Agence Ecofin writes. The USD44 million project is part of a regional integration strategy aiming to connect Cape Verde to the rest of the region via an undersea link to Guinea-Bissau and the Mano River countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea-Conakry).

The government of New Caledonia is planning to launch a tender for the deployment of an international and domestic submarine cable in 2019, after a ‘competitive dialogue procedure’ initiated in 2016 was declared void for ‘reasons of general interest’, Megazap writes. The OPT-NC proposed the deployment of a second international submarine cable and a domestic cable (between Noumea and Lifou to serve Mount Dore, Yate the Isle of Pines and Mare) in 2015, with two options on the table – either to connect to Fiji by a dedicated cable owned by the OPT-NC, or to connect to one of the in-deployment South Pacific projects. In December 2016 the government launched a competitive dialogue with Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN, offering a cable connection to Fiji) and Hawaiki Cable Company (proposing a connection to the Hawaiki system). The tender commission analysed the proposals and revealed in October 2018 that the ‘two offers are of a very high level and are extremely comparable, both in terms of investment, operation and implementation time’, adding that the competitive dialogue will be declared ‘without further action’ as the conditions for submarine cable leasing in the South Pacific had been ‘profoundly altered’ since December 2016. The Office des Postes et Telecommunications de Nouvelle-Caledonie (OPT-NC) highlighted that a number of new/in-development projects – including Tui-Samoa (declared ready for service [RFS] in March 2018), Japan-Guam-Australia North/South (JGA-N/JGA-S, 4Q19), Manatua (4Q19), Coral Sea Cable System (CSCS, 4Q19), Interchange Cable Network 2 (ICN2, 4Q19) and Southern Cross NEXT cable (2020) – are likely to stimulate competition in international capacity services and that it would be uneconomic for the OPT-NC to engage in capacity leases for a period of 15 years, given the significant price reductions to come.

Telefonica’s infrastructure subsidiary Telxius reported that revenues were up 30.6% year-on-year to EUR231 million (USD262 million) in the third quarter of 2018, manly attributed to a one-off sale of capacity related to its BRUSA cable, which is now RFS. The company’s cable revenues soared by 50.1% to EUR149 million due to the BRUSA transaction. Operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) reached EUR107 million, up 30.9% year on year.

Infinera and Telia Carrier have announced the first real-time transmission of 600G wavelengths in a live production network. The trial achieved 600G single-wavelength transmission from Palo Alto to San Francisco across Telia Carrier’s production network, which is built on Infinera’s FlexILS platform. Infinera plans to deliver commercial products capable of 600G per wavelength in early 2019.

HC2 Holdings (HC2) is exploring strategic alternatives, including a potential sale, for its Global Marine (GM) subsidiary, which provides subsea fibre-optic cable solutions to the telecoms industry. HC2’s CEO Philip Falcone explained: ‘Since our acquisition four years ago, the management team at Global Marine has repositioned and strengthened itself by securing and maintaining leadership positions in various key growth markets … We believe exploring strategic options now will clearly position the next buyer to strategically capitalise on the next phase of growth of the Global Marine business, while allowing current investors an opportunity to realise substantial value creation since the acquisition in 2014. Reducing HC2’s debt cost of capital has been a top priority of ours, and we believe monetising this asset will get us above and beyond that important goal.’

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