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

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10 May 2019

EllaLink Group has announced that Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has finalised the cable route study for the EllaLink submarine cable system, with a marine survey now scheduled to be performed over the coming months. The company highlighted that it is also in the process of securing permits for the system, in line with its plans to ensure the EllaLink is ready for service (RFS) by the end of 2020. EllaLink is a four-fibre pair submarine cable, which avoids the congestion of the North Atlantic by offering a direct route between landing sites in Fortaleza (Brazil) and Sines (Portugal). Philippe Dumont, CEO of the EllaLink Group, commented: ‘The survey will collect vital data for the project, helping us determine the most effective route between Sines and Fortaleza, from a reliability, environmental and economic point of view. The launch of the permitting and survey work is also a significant step towards meeting our plans for lighting the system by close 2020.’ Following completion of the survey work, ASN will commence manufacturing activities ahead of marine operations next year. The EllaLink system is designed to offer 72Tbps of capacity using leading edge coherent technology.

GU Holdings (an indirect, wholly-¬owned subsidiary of Google), AARNet, RTI JGA, and RTI Connectivity have filed a request with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a licence to construct, land and operate a private, non-common carrier fibre-optic submarine cable connecting Guam and Australia. The Japan-Guam-Australia South (JGA-S) will consist of a main trunk between Piti (Guam) and Sydney (Australia), which will have a total length of approximately 7,081km and consist of two fibre pairs with a design capacity of a minimum of 18Tbps per fibre pair, and a branch to the Sunshine Coast in Australia with a length of 552km comprising two fibre pairs with a design capacity of 18Tbps per fibre pair. JGA-S will be separately owned and operated from the planned Japan-Guam-Australia-North (JGA-N) system between Guam and Japan, with RTI JGA holding 62.5% participation and voting interest in JGA-S and APL (12.5%), while Google will control 25% via three affiliate companies: GU Holdings (portion in US territory), Google Infrastructure Bermuda Limited (GIB, portion in international waters) and Google Australia (portion in Australian territory). JGA will wholly own the branching unit connecting the Sunshine Coast Branch to the main trunk. RTI Solutions, RTI JGA, and RTI Connectivity are seeking a separate cable landing licence from the FCC with respect to JGA-N (No. SCL-LIC-20181106-00035, filed in November 2018). Both JGA-N and JGA-S will interconnect in Guam at GTA’s newly built landing station.

The Federated States of Micronesia’s (FSM’s) national government has held an inauguration ceremony for the Chuuk-Pohnpei Cable, which is now ‘fully active and operational’, The Marianas Variety writes. The 1,200km system connects the islands of Chuuk to Pohnpei, with onward connectivity to the existing HANTRU-1 submarine cable, a 2,917km network connecting FSM, the Marshall Islands and Guam. The system was deployed by NEC, with financial assistance provided by the World Bank.

Bangladesh is likely to experience slow internet speed for a week as maintenance work on the SeaMeWe-4 submarine cable was delayed due to a storm. The Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) started replacing the third repeater of the cable at its Cox’s Bazar landing station on 8 May 2019, with the company disclosing that it would take six to seven days to complete the work. The maintenance work was initially scheduled to start by the end of April.

Globe Telecom’s subscribers in the Visayas and Mindanao experienced internet service interruptions on 4 May due to a cut in a submarine fibre-optic cable, which was caused by an earthquake that struck the province of Occidental Mindoro (Philippines). The company said ‘it is speeding up’ its efforts to repair the fault, with services restored shortly after.

Infinera and Italian telecoms operator Fastweb have announced the successful demonstration of 500G single-wavelength service connectivity in a production network using Infinera’s configurable technology on the Groove platform. The high-speed optical transmission demonstration spanned over 180km on Fastweb’s long-haul backbone network between Milan and Turin. The trial was implemented over Fastweb’s existing optical infrastructure without special amplifiers, tuning, or changes. Infinera’s solution enables Fastweb to scale internet exchange point capacity up to 24Tbps.

Zayo Group Holdings has announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by affiliates of Digital Colony Partners and the EQT Infrastructure IV fund. The transaction would result in Zayo transitioning from a public company to a private company. Under the terms of the agreement, which was unanimously approved by Zayo’s Board of Directors, shareholders will receive USD35.00 in cash per share of Zayo’s common stock in a transaction valued at USD14.3 billion, including the assumption of USD5.9 billion of Zayo’s net debt obligations. The offer price represents a 32% premium to the volume-weighted price average of the last six months of USD26.44. The closing of the deal is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory clearance and Zayo shareholder approvals. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of calendar 2020. Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are serving as financial advisors to Zayo Group in connection with the transaction and Skadden Arps is serving as legal counsel. Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank are acting as financial advisors to Digital Colony and EQT Infrastructure, and Simpson Thacher is serving as legal advisor.

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Bangladesh, Brazil, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Italy, Philippines, Portugal, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL), Fastweb, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Globe Telecom (incl. Innove), Google (Alphabet), Infinera, RAM Telecom International (RTI), Zayo Group, Zayo/Allstream (Canada)

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