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

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31 May 2019

The INDIGO-Central and INDIGO-West submarine fibre-optic cables connecting Singapore, Indonesia and Australia are now certified ready for service (RFS). 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). The two cables, previously known as APX-Central and APX-West, were originally scheduled to be deployed by SubPartners, though in April 2017 the Australian submarine cable construction company was acquired by Superloop and the project was renamed INDIGO. As reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, deployment work on the first section of the INDIGO-West submarine cable was completed in September 2018, 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. The cable system entered a period of acceptance and commissioning testing in January 2019.

Chilean president Sebastian Pinera has inaugurated the first section of the country’s USD90 million Fibra Optica Austral (FOA) project, following the completion of the deployment works on the submarine section of the project, TeleSemana writes. The FOA system connects the Chilean cities of Puerto Montt and Puerto Williams, with landings at Caleta Tortel and Punta Arenas. The FOA cable is part of the Chilean Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications’ (Miniseterio de Transportes y Telecomunicaciones’, MTT’s) project aiming to deploy nearly 4,000km of fibre-optic infrastructure in the southern Patagonia region. In October 2017 the ministry revealed that Comunicacion y Telefonia Rural (CTR), in association with Huawei Marine, won the tender for the submarine section and one of three land-based sections of the project. The contract for the deployment of the other two terrestrial routes, to Aysen and Los Lagos, was awarded to Silica Networks earlier this month; it is expected that the two routes will be rolled out in 18 months.

The Kenyan government is planning to invest USD59 million to fund the country’s connection to the Djibouti Africa Regional Express-1 (DARE1) system. The DARE1 cable system will stretch 4,747km and connect Djibouti (Djibouti), Bosaso (Somalia), Mogadishu (Somalia) and Mombasa (Kenya), delivering 36Tbps of capacity. DARE1 is configured as a three-fibre pair trunk and each trunk fibre pair has cross sectional capacity of 40 channels at 300Gbps; the newly added two-fibre pair repeatered Bosaso segment of the DARE1 cable will be 108km and will be equipped with a switched Wavelength Management Unit (WMU). The marine survey for the system was completed in March 2019, with the system expected to be ready for commercial traffic in Q4 2019.

The Asia-Pacific Getaway (APG) submarine cable linking Vietnam to a number of Asian countries has suffered a fault 132km away from Danang on 27 May, affecting internet connections in the country. It is currently unclear when connectivity over the system would be restored.

The Kazakhstani government has ratified the country’s participation in the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM) trans-continental backbone project, aiming to deploy 400km of cable along the bottom of the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijani operator AzerTelecom and Kazakhstan operators KazTransCom and Transtelecom have signed a cooperation agreement for the construction of a fibre-optic cable line between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, with the Azerbaijani government approving the plan in April. As noted by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, a preliminary memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding the implementation of the TASIM system was signed in Baku, Azerbaijan in December 2013, by China Telecom (China), KazTransCom (Kazakhstan), Rostelecom (Russia), Turk Telekom (Turkey) and Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Communications and High Technologies (MCHT). When finalised, the backbone network will connect 20 countries via two alternative routes – Southern and Northern – stretching from Frankfurt (Germany) to Hong Kong.

Lastly, Telecom Italia (TIM) has achieved wavelength speeds of 550Gbps in collaboration with Nokia, claiming ‘a new European record for data transmission over a long-distance backbone network.’ The trial covered more than 350km on TIM’s operational network between Rome and Florence using the new Nokia Photonic Service Engine 3 (Nokia PSE-3). In addition, TIM and Nokia also reached a transmission rate of 400Gbps over 900km (Rome-Milan), and 300Gbps over 1,750km. TIM’s backbone currently carries optical signals with a capacity of 100Gbps over distances of up to 1,800km and 200Gbps (800km). The 16,000km backbone connects 65 national PoPs.

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