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

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11 Jan 2019

EllaLink Ireland and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) have commenced construction works on the EllaLink submarine cable system. Scheduled for operation in 2020, the EllaLink System is a four-fibre pair submarine system aiming to provide a direct submarine fibre-optic cable between Europe and Latin America. Alfonso Gajate, Chairman of the EllaLink Board, said: ‘Since the initial idea in 2010, interest in the route has grown significantly. Together with our financial sponsor Marguerite II and key anchor tenants, the EllaLink team has worked alongside ASN to design a high capacity system on the most optimum marine route.’ As currently planned, EllaLink will bring 72Tbps of connectivity between the two continents. The 10,119km-long EllaLink will land at Sines in Portugal and at Praia Grande near Sao Paolo (Brazil), with branches to Fortaleza (Brazil), the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira and the island nation of Cape Verde. Note that the only existing direct fibre-optic cable between Europe and Latin America, the ATLANTIS-2 (commissioned in late 1999), remains in service, although is based on ageing technology.

Infinera has completed a major upgrade of the 12,700km Australia Japan Cable (AJC) system connecting Australia, Guam and Japan. The lit capacity of the cable system was tripled by upgrading the Infinera DTN-X network with a fourth-generation optical engine, ICE4 (Infinite Capacity Engine). The network upgrade also delivered a 60% end-of-life capacity increase to the trans-Pacific cable system. The AJC consortium – comprising Softbank Telecom, Telstra, Verizon and AT&T – first deployed Infinera’s subsea solution in 2014.

Superloop has revealed that construction work of the INDIGO-Central and INDIGO-West submarine fibre-optic cables was completed in late December as planned, resulting in a complete optical path between the landing stations. According to an announcement from the company, the cable system will now enter a period of acceptance and commissioning testing, before going live in early 2019. The 9,200km INDIGO cable system – owned by a consortium comprising Superloop, Telstra, Singtel, Google, Indosat Ooredoo and Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNET) – connects the Australian cities of Sydney and Perth (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 links Singapore and Indonesia, started in November and was finalised on 21 December, while the rollout of the final splice of the 4,850km INDIGO-Central cable concluded on 24 December.

Algerie Telecom (AT) has announced that it has completed a fibre-optic link stretching more than 1,000km from Adrar to Tindouf, thus completing the southwestern Abadla-Benni Abbes-Adrar-Tindouf-Abadla ring, the Algerie Presse Service writes. Deployment of the fibre backbone network commenced in February 2018. According to the CEO of Algerie Telecom, Adel Khemane, the company’s national fibre network now stretches a total of 140,000km, including 93,000km of long-haul backbone links. The CEO added that the transport capacity of the national NG-DWDM transmission backbone has been increased to 4.20Tbps, adding that the international bandwidth could be expanded to more than 12Tbps in the future with the activation of two new submarine systems. The delayed Oran-Valencia (ORVAL) cable linking Algeria to Spain is backed by AT and after missing a previously mooted launch date of June 2017 a live switch-on is now expected in January 2019. Furthermore, in December 2017 the upcoming prospect of a new cable route linking ‘Annaba to the US’ was revealed, and telecoms minister Houda Imane Faraoun confirmed that the ambitious plan remained on the government’s agenda, although details remain scant.

Nigeria’s submarine cable operators have formed a coalition for the protection of submarine cable infrastructure, the Punch writes. The Association of Submarine Cable Operators of Nigeria’s main aims are to ‘support and manage governmental and public/private sector collaboration and to ensure that the operations and maintenance of critical submarine communications assets are adequately protected and recognised in the development of rules and policies in Nigeria’. The president of the association, Ifeloju Alakija, said it costs an average of USD1.5 million to restore a damaged cable and would be cost effective to collaborate with other seabed users to map cable protection zones in order to prevent revenue loss to repairs. A total of six systems currently land in Nigeria, SAT-3, WASC, Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), Nigeria Cameroon Submarine Cable System (NCSCS), Glo-1 and MainOne, with another cable, Glo-2, expected to enter services in 2019.

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Algeria, Australia, Cape Verde, Guam, Indonesia, Nigeria, Singapore, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Algerie Telecom (AT), AT&T (old), Google (Alphabet), Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison (IOH), Infinera, Singtel Group, Superloop, Telstra (incl. Belong), Verizon Communications

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