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

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16 Nov 2018

Incumbent operator Mauritius Telecom (MT) has revealed that the Mauritius and Rodrigues Submarine Cable System (MARS) aiming to link Mauritius with the island of Rodrigues has landed in La Prairie and is set to be rolled out to Rodrigues by 17 November. The new 700km system – due to be ready for service (RFS) in 2019 – will offer a bandwidth design capacity of 16Tbps and is being built in partnership with Huawei Marine Network, while PCCW Global is in charge of the cable operation. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in March 2017 MT won the government’s public tender to supply the island of Rodrigues with additional bandwidth capacity over the next 20 years; MT – which was revealed as the sole bidder in the tender – proposed a total of USD97.9 million for the project.

The final splice of the Guantanamo-Puerto Rico submarine cable system has been completed by UK-based subsea fibre-optic solutions provider Xtera, on behalf of the US Department of Defence’s (DoD’s) Defence Information Systems Agency (DISA). The marine installation of the submarine cable between Guantanamo in Cuba and a government-operated landing site in Puerto Rico was successfully performed by International Telecom’s cable ship the IT Intrepid. The new 1,400km system will be fully commissioned as scheduled in December 2018 and will enter services in early 2019. This is the second submarine cable system that Xtera has deployed for DISA (the first entered services in 2015).

Southern Cross Cables has added a further 6.4Tbps of capacity across its submarine and terrestrial networks by deploying Ciena’s WaveLogic Ai coherent optics and the 6500 T-series. Southern Cross Cables claims that the deployment of Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme solution ‘is the first submarine deployment of WaveLogic Ai over compensated cable and includes the first deployment of 200Gbps wavelengths between Sydney and Auckland (Australia).’

Elsewhere in Australia, data centre provider NextDC has signed a partnership agreement with Superloop to connect the new INDIGO submarine cable system to NextDC’s Perth (P1 and P2) and Sydney (S1 and S2) data centres. The 9,200km INDIGO cable system will connect the two Australian cities (INDIGO-Central) with Singapore and Jakarta (INDIGO-West). 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, while the construction of the final splice of the 4,850km INDIGO-Central cable is set for completion in early December. The INDIGO cables are expected to be RFS in Q1 2019.

Portugal’s National Communications Authority (Autoridade Nacional de Comunicacoes, ANACOM) has approved a decision to reduce the maximum prices for circuits between the mainland and the autonomous regions of Azores and Madeira (CAM circuits) by 10% and the circuits between the various islands of the Azores (inter-island circuits) by 6%. The move prompted the sole operator of submarine links from Portugal to Madeira and Azores, Altice Portugal, to hint at plans of reducing its investment in the country, Acoriano Oriental writes. Altice noted that this is the third price reduction in three years, after cuts of 50% in 2015 and 72% in 2016.

Chile’s USD90 million Fibra Optica Austral (FOA) project to deploy a 3,000km submarine cable in the Latin American country is scheduled to be completed by November 2019, according to Marcelo Pino, Huawei’s head of corporate affairs in Chile. Diario Financiero writes that the rollout is scheduled to commence in January, following the arrival of the cabling from Huawei’s factory in China. The FOA system will connect the Chilean cities of Puerto Montt and Puerto Williams, with landings at Caleta Tortel and Punta Arenas. The FOA cable is part of the Chilean Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications’ (Miniseterio de Transportes y Telecomunicaciones’, MTT’s) project aiming to deploy nearly 4,000km of fibre-optic infrastructure in the southern Patagonia region. In October 2017 the ministry revealed that Comunicacion y Telefonia Rural (CTR), in association with Huawei Marine, won the tender for the submarine section and one of three land-based sections of the project.

Lastly, South African submarine cable operator SEACOM has reached an agreement to acquire 100% of fibre provider FibreCo Telecommunications for an undisclosed sum, subject to approval by the Competition Commission (CompCom). SEACOM said in a statement that the deal represents a ‘milestone’ in its ‘vision to expand its African footprint through the consolidation of fibre assets.’ FibreCo’s 4,000km open-access network consists of underground fibre routes and carrier-grade equipment hosting facilities interconnecting over 60 PoPs in South Africa, including major data centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Durban, Port Elizabeth, and East London.

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