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

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8 Mar 2019

Sydney-based Vocus Group is reportedly interested in partnering with the Timor-Leste government for the potential deployment of a submarine fibre-optic link to the country, writes. Vocus Group CEO Michael Auckland met with government representatives in the capital Dili to discuss the proposed project, which envisions the connection of the south of the country to the North Western Cable System (NWCS) that passes by the maritime border with Australia across the Timor Sea. Auckland explained that when NWCS was built, the group opted to install a ‘T’ connection to allow for the potential link of Timor-Leste to the system: ‘We could not build a system and change it later. If we had not made that extra expense, an investment of several million at the time, we could not make the connection.’ Timor-Leste currently has no international fibre connectivity and relies on satellites for bandwidth capacity. In March 2018 the government signed a letter of intent for the connection of the country to a submarine fibre-optic cable, Telkomcel, with landing stations in Larantuka, Atambua, and Kalabahi (Indonesia) and Dili (Timor Leste). The USD20 million project, however, was heavily contested by the opposition and is understood to have been scrapped.

Infinera has announced the successful demonstration of 600G 64QAM transmission over a 250km link in a production network with the Infinera Groove G30 muxponder solution operating over the Infinera 7300 multi-haul DWDM transport platform. The ‘industry first’ experiment was conducted on the backbone network of an unnamed European service provider. Infinera also successfully demonstrated 500G 32QAM over 500km of fibre during the trial.

Facebook has established a subsidiary called Middle Mile Infrastructure, which will operate as a wholesale provider and when necessary, as a telecoms carrier. The company is planning to continue investing in fibre routes, with two new long-haul fibre links connecting data centres in Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina currently in deployment. The company is planning to reserve a portion of its capacity for its own use and make the excess available to third parties.

MainOne is planning to deploy and operate some 750km of metropolitan fibre-optic network in the Nigerian states of Edo and Ogun, with investment provided by Facebook and support from local regulatory and state authorities. According to a company press release, these open access transport networks will provide metro fibre connectivity to reach more than one million people in Benin City, Abeokuta, Sagamu and ten other towns. MainOne was previously granted an open access fibre infrastructure network (InfraCo) licence by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2015 and has since deployed a 300km metro fibre network in Lagos. Facebook Engineering also said that in conjunction with MainOne, it had laid 970km of fibre-optic cable in Ogun and Edo states.

Iberdrola Espana, Iberdrola Distribucion Electrica and Iberdrola Generacion, all part of the Iberdrola Group, have reached an agreement with Lyntia Networks for the assignment of the rights of use of a portion of their dark fibre network for a total consideration of EUR260 million (USD293 million). As part of the deal, Lyntia will acquire Iberdrola Espana’s portfolio of contracts with respect to the optical fibre (dark and illuminated). The completion of the transaction is subject to approval by the Spanish Antitrust Authority (Comision Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia).

SEACOM has announced the completion of its 100% acquisition of FibreCo Telecommunications via its affiliate SEACOM South Africa. FibreCo owns and operates a national fibre network, which runs along South Africa’s highest-traffic transmission routes and links all major South Africa cities, providing infrastructure and connectivity services across the country. With the acquisition of FibreCo, SEACOM completes its ‘African Ring’ by connecting its East- and West-coast submarine assets with a trans-South African fibre network. SEACOM South Africa now connects over 60 PoPs across South Africa, including major data centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London, with 4,000km of owned intercity and metropolitan fibre.

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Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Timor-Leste, Facebook, FibreCo, Infinera, MainOne Cable, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), SEACOM, Vocus Group (incl. Commander, Dodo, iPrimus)