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

18 Apr 2019

Sparkle has announced a long-term investment for the deployment of BlueMed, a submarine multi-fibre cable system linking Palermo with Genoa. The new cable – planned to be operational by 2020 – will cross the Tyrrhenian Sea connecting Sparkle’s Sicily Hub open data centre in Palermo, which serves eighteen 18 international cables, with Genoa’s new open landing station. BlueMed will also include multiple branches within the Tyrrhenian Sea and is set to support further extensions southbound of Sicily. With a capacity up to 240Tbps and about 1,000km long, BlueMed will provide advanced connectivity between Middle East, Africa, Asia and the European mainland hubs with up to 50% latency reduction than existing terrestrial cables connecting Sicily with Milan. Mario Di Mauro, CEO of Sparkle, said: ‘The investment on the deployment of BlueMed and of the landing station in Genoa represents the first phase of a wider plan aimed at consolidating Sparkle’s leadership in the Mediterranean basin through the extension and enhancement of its regional backbone.’

A Cable Landing Party Agreement has been signed between PEACE Cable International Network and Cyber Internet Services (Cybernet Pakistan). Cybernet has been entrusted with deploying the Cable Landing Station (CLS) for the PEACE cable and managing its operations in Pakistan. The first phase of the PEACE project will connect Pakistan (Gwadar and Karachi), Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya, while the second phase will provide an extended option to South Africa and Europe. The 200G subsea cabling system – expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020 – will boast a capacity of 16Tbps for each fibre pair and will offer the shortest route from China to Europe and Africa. The 12,000km system will be deployed by Huawei Marine Networks; a contract for the cable manufacturing had been awarded to HENGTONG Marine. Danish Lakhani, CEO Cybernet Pakistan, said: ‘PEACE is the only cable system that originates in Pakistan and connects three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) and elevates our country’s strategic standing in the global connectivity race. This ultrahigh capacity cable will boost available bandwidth to meet current and future requirements of Pakistan and that of neighbouring countries. With its ultra-low latency design, the cable will cut down transit time between Pakistan and France to under 90 milliseconds – dramatically improving the response time of internet-based applications and the experience of our users.’

Orange Group has selected Infinera’s Infinite Capacity Engine (ICE4)-based XTS 3600 platform for the Martinique-Guadeloupe segment of the Kanawa submarine cable linking the French overseas territories of French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe. The vendor also revealed that Orange will use the Infinera Instant Bandwidth capability for rapid capacity turnup on the submarine network link. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Orange completed the construction of the 1,746km Kanawa submarine cable in January 2019 and inaugurated services the same month. Comprised of two fibre pairs, Kanawa boasts design capacity of 100×100Gbps or 10Tbps, with landing stations in Kourou (French Guiana) and Schoelcher (Martinique). The new system also provides interconnections with the Americas II cable in Martinique and French Guiana, and the East Caribbean Fibre System (ECFS) in Martinique. Stephane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange, said: ‘With its demographic growth and the growth in uses, French Guiana is one of the most dynamic territories for digital technology. We built Kanawa to meet this need for speed and to secure this region’s connection to the global network. This submarine cable, which we are inaugurating today, will connect French Guiana and Martinique and represents an investment of EUR35 million [USD40 million] for Orange.’

Google and submarine network technology supplier SubCom (formerly TE SubCom) will apply space-division multiplexing (SDM) technology on the 6,600km trans-Atlantic Dunant submarine cable, which will link Virginia Beach in the US to France. The use of SDM, in which transmission power is split across multiple spatial dimensions, will provide a ‘significant, power-efficient capacity boost’ for Dunant over what a more traditional approach could provide. The system, which is expected to be ready for service (RFS) in 2020, will be Google’s second privately-owned submarine network, as the company is also developing the Curie cable project between Los Angeles (US) and Valparaiso in Chile (RFS: 2019).

Angola Cables has announced the opening of its carrier-neutral data centre Angonap Fortaleza in Brazil. The Tier III data centre hosts Angola Cables’ two intercontinental submarine cables, South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) (certified RFS in September 2018) and Monet (December 2017).

French equipment manufacturer Ekinops has ended negotiations with Nokia over the acquisition of Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN). Ekinops – in partnership with public investment group Bpifrance Participations (formerly Fonds Strategique d’Investissement) and the Aleph Capital fund – entered discussions with Nokia about a potential acquisition of Nokia’s submarine cable systems technology and deployment subsidiary in October 2018: ‘Since that date, we have continued to investigate the possible acquisition of ASN and have been discussing potential deal terms with Nokia Corporation. However, no agreement has been reached with Nokia and the discussions have now been discontinued,’ the company said in a press release.

Lastly, Telefonica expects to complete the sale of its data centres shortly, after receiving binding offers earlier this month, local newspaper Expansion writes. Investment fund Asterion Industrial Partners, founded by former KKR director Jesus Olmos, is considered well-placed to win the deal, according to the unnamed sources, while other candidates include EQT, I-Squared Capital, Digital Realty and Equinix.

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French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Italy, Martinique, Pakistan, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Angola Cables, EKINOPS, Equinix, Google (Alphabet), Huawei Marine, Infinera, Nokia Networks (formerly NSN), Orange Group, SubCom, Telecom Italia Sparkle, Telefonica