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

12 Apr 2019

H2 Cable and SubCom have signed a contract for the supply and installation of the H2 submarine cable system, aiming to link Australia and Hong Kong with direct access to China. The cable design also allows for a number of Branching Units (BU) to be deployed to locations including Taiwan, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Island, Guam, Queensland (Australia), Hawaii and Los Angeles (US). The direct route will provide low latency from Australia across the Pacific Ocean, with the Sydney to Hong Kong branch carrying 15Tbps per fibre pair and the Sydney to Los Angeles branch carrying more than 12.9Tbps per fibre pair. The cable has a single end power feeding capability of more than 13,000km. The branch between Sydney and Los Angeles will follow an entirely diverse route to the north of New Caledonia. Georges Krebs, CEO of H2, said: ‘We are pleased to partner with SubCom and are confident their superior technology and operational excellence will enable a smooth system deployment. H2 will bring the necessary boost in connectivity to Australia, which has one of the fastest-growing international traffic streams in the world.’

RTI Connectivity has announced that the construction of the Japan-Guam-Australia South (JGA-S) system is on schedule, with the cable set to be commercially available by the end of the year. The undersea cable and repeaters are being loaded onto the Ile De Brehat installation vessel at Alcatel Submarine Networks’ (ASN’s) factory in Calais (France) before it sets sail to the South Pacific to begin installation. RTI CEO Russ Matulich said: ‘JGA South will be the fastest path between Sydney-Hong Kong and Sydney-Tokyo. Also, the cable’s second landing to the Sunshine Coast will deliver much needed diversity not only between Australia-Asia and Australia-US, but also between Brisbane and Sydney.’ The JGA cable is developed by a consortium including RTI Connectivity, AARNet and Google – in partnership with ASN and NEC Corporation. The 9,500km submarine fibre-optic cable system will deliver a design capacity of more than 36Tbps. JGA will comprise two distinct segments; JGA-S between Sydney, Australia and Piti (Guam) will be owned and operated by a consortium including AARNet, Google and RTI. JGA North (JGA-N), the segment between the Minamiboso (Japan) and Piti, is a private cable with RTI as the sole purchaser. Both JGA-N and JGA-S will interconnect in Guam at GTA’s newly built landing station.

Southern Cross Cable and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) have signed a contract for the supply of the Southern Cross NEXT submarine cable, subject to financial closure. Under the contract, the USD350 million Southern Cross NEXT cable will benefit from ASN’s submarine WSS ROADM units, the latest generation of repeaters and will boast over 72Tbps of transmission capacity, adding to the existing 20Tbps of capacity potential of the current Southern Cross systems. Southern Cross NEXT is a four-fibre pair cable that will link the US West coast to Sydney and Auckland (Australia) and will incorporate Branching Units (BU) and OADM technology for connections to Fiji, Tokelau and Kiribati. It will also provide greater options to the existing cables from Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga connecting to Southern Cross in Fiji.

Xtera has been granted Final Acceptance for a submarine cable system deployed on behalf of the US Department of Defence’s (DoD’s) Defence Information Systems Agency (DISA). The marine installation of the 1,400km 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, with the system achieving Provisional Acceptance in December 2018, ahead of schedule. The system takes advantage of Xtera’s second-generation repeater, which offers hybrid amplification with active supervisory monitoring and command, and Xtera’s suite of terminal equipment including its Nu-Wave Optima terminal product and network management gateway. This is the second submarine cable system that Xtera has deployed for DISA (the first entered services in 2015).

Facebook is reportedly in talks to build a submarine cable connecting several coastal African countries, The Wall Street Journal writes. The project, named Simba, would link the continent’s eastern, western and Mediterranean coasts, though the exact number of landing points is still in discussions.

TELE-POST Greenland has suspended its plans to repair the outstanding submarine cable damage because of severe weather, after attempts to repair the line north of Qaqortoq resulted in a loss of equipment. Greenland had experienced two damaged submarine cables in the span of several weeks, after the Greenland Connect cable suffered a break between Nuuk and Qaqortoq on 27 December 2018 and the Greenland Connect Nord system was cut on 21 January.

Hawaiki Submarine Cable has extended its US presence from Hillsboro (Oregon, US) to the Westin Building Exchange (WBX) carrier hotel and data centre in Seattle (Washington, US) to support its clients’ capacity requirements between New Zealand, Australia and the US. Launched in July 2018, the transpacific Hawaiki system is a 15,000km fibre-optic carrier-neutral cable with a design capacity of 67Tbps.

FiberStar Indonesia and Huawei have agreed to build a high-speed 1Tbps backbone DWDM network that connects Jakarta to Surabaya, comprising submarine and terrestrial cables that will form a ring network with a total length of more than 3,000km. Announced at the 2019 Pan Asia-Pacific ISP Summit in Bali (Indonesia), the agreement will see FiberStar continue to work with Huawei on fixed networks and data centres to jointly promote the digital transformation of Indonesia. Thomas Dragono, co-founder and director of FiberStar, said: ‘Being the pioneer of Indonesia’s neutral infrastructure service, and considering Huawei’s advancement in the optical communications field, we have both decided to explore a deeper and stronger partnership. We will leverage the advanced DWDM and MPLS technology to expand the coverage of networks in Indonesia, and further facilitate the growth of the digital economy in Indonesia.’

Gestor de Infraestructuras de Telecomunicaciones de Guinea Ecuatorial (GITGE) has published an update on the deployment of its national fibre-optic network the Red Nacional de Fibra Optica (RNFO). The backbone, inaugurated in 2014, currently connects 18 cities according to GITGE: three on the island of Bioko (Malabo, Luba and Riaba) and 15 in mainland Equatorial Guinea (Bata, Machinda, Niefang, Nkimi, Nkue, Micomeseng, Bidjabijan, Ebibeyin, Ayene, Anisoc, Mongomeyen, Mongomo, Oyala, Evinayong and Bicurga). The RNFO network will now be extended to reach the towns of Asok, Akonibe, Nsok, Oveng, Acurenam, Midjobo, Nkoho, Cogo, the island of Annobon, Mbini, Mboete, Cabo San Juan and Corisco.

Lastly, Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet Global, has announced the completion and receipt of an investment of USD180 million from the UK’s development finance institution CDC Group, which is taking an 8% stake in Liquid. The investment will enable Liquid Telecom to further expand its fibre footprint and to broaden its data centres and cloud services product portfolio across Africa serving wholesale, enterprise and retail customers.

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Australia, China, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Greenland, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kiribati, Tokelau, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Facebook, FiberStar, GITGE, Google (Alphabet), Hawaiki Cable, Huawei Technologies, Liquid Telecom Group, NEC, RAM Telecom International (RTI), Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN), SubCom, TELE Greenland, Xtera