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

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28 Jun 2019

America Movil and Telxius have announced the deployment of a new undersea cable in the Pacific coast of Latin America. This is part of the ongoing commitment of the two Latin American telecoms groups to improve global communications. The 7,300km cable will connect Puerto San Jose (Guatemala) with Valparaiso (Chile), with additional landing points in Salinas (Ecuador), Lurin (Peru) and Arica (Chile). The five landing stations are already in place and undersea prospecting works are currently underway. The system, which will have an initial estimated capacity of 108Tbps, is expected to be ready for service (RFS) in Q4 2020.

Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) has disbursed THB5 billion (USD162 million) for the upgrade and development of the country’s internet infrastructure, with MDES Permanent Secretary Atcharin Phatthanaphanchai saying that the government has assigned the project to CAT Telecom. The Nation writes that the Asean Digital Hub project is divided into three phases: the first stage aims to increase network capacity on the international borders; the second stage is to upgrade capacity of the nationwide network and the submarine cable system; and the final phase will see the laying of a new international submarine cable connecting Thailand to Asian-Pacific nations including Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines and South Korea. CAT Telecom has already expanded internet capacity by 2,300Gbps in border areas connecting Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, at a cost of THB2 billion. Another THB1 billion has been invested in the second phase of the project, with CAT Telecom currently performing tests on the equipment installed at 151 communications stations nationwide. The company has also increased the capacity of the existing submarine cable network linking Thailand with Singapore and China via Hong Kong and the US by 770Gbps. The upgraded infrastructure can now handle 7,512Gbps of internet traffic for the entire country.

RTI and GTA have entered into a joint venture and are constructing the Gateway Network Connections (GNC) facility, which will serve as Guam’s combined neutral Cable Landing Station (CLS) and Data Centre (DC). GNC will be located adjacent to GTA’s existing CLS, which houses the Southeast Asia-United States Cable System (SEA-US) system. Scheduled for completion in Q1 2020, GNC will be an 11,800m2 Type 3 data centre with approximately 250 racks of capacity. GNC will provide interconnection for both existing and new cables seeking onward connectivity between and among Asia, Australia and the US. Several new 100G cables are scheduled to land at GNC’s facility in 2019 and 2020.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is currently mulling the expansion of a government-owned backbone following last year’s agreement with the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to utilise their spare fibre assets, The Inquirer reports. Denis Villorente, DICT undersecretary for special concerns, was quoted as saying that the backbone would land in all of the provinces of the Philippines. The plan, part of the DICT’s National Broadband Project, involves laying new submarine cables from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao. Villorente said the project (estimated to require a budget of PHP10 billion [USD195 million]) would increase NGCP and TransCo’s existing fibre backbone to 10,000km (currently 6,000km). A study on how the project will be implemented is yet to be finalised, Villorente noted.

Bulk Infrastructure has revealed the Nordic Gateway, an on-ramp solution into the Havfrue Cable System, which will stretch 7,200km from New Jersey (US) to Denmark and Norway when it enters services in Q4 2019. With Bulk’s exclusive ownership of the Norwegian branch of the cable system, Bulk controls six routes in the system between the US, Ireland, Denmark and Norway. Bulk has chosen NJFX in Wall (NJ) as the US on-ramp location for the Nordic Gateway.

Sparkle has announced the construction of Nibble, its new ultra long-haul photonic backbone linking Sicily (Italy) with PoPs and data centres in Europe. Nibble’s photonic layer will be progressively integrated with Sparkle’s existing Mediterranean and Balkans Network and the planned BlueMed system, a domestic multi-fibre submarine cable linking Palermo and Milan via Genoa, creating a seamless Pan Mediterranean Optical Transport Network. The first link – planned to go live in summer 2019 – will connect Sparkle’s Sicily Hub in Palermo with the Milan Caldera open data centre; Nibble construction is planned to continue in several phases until the end of 2020 to fully deploy the entire Italian and European footprint and to integrate with the Mediterranean and Balkans networks. Furthermore, Infinera has announced Nibble will feature its XT-3600 platform, thus simplifying operations and helping Sparkle to quickly activate new and on-demand capacity for customers upon request without network overprovisioning.

Crosslake Fibre will use Ciena’s optical technology and software for its cable system between Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and Buffalo, New York (US). Crosslake’s new fibre network – spanning 1,500km and including a 131km submarine link across Lake Ontario – will provide a physically diverse subsea and terrestrial route between the US and Canada. Crosslake will deliver optical and dark fibre solutions over the new system. To support its network upgrade, Crosslake is deploying Ciena’s WaveLogic Ai-powered 6500 Packet-Optical Platform that supports wavelength capacity at 250Gbps. The network could be scaled to support 500Gbps wavelength capacity with WaveLogic 5 Extreme in the future.

Telia Carrier has announced the expansion of its North American network with the addition of two new diverse and latency-optimised DWDM routes between New Jersey and Northern Virginia (US). This includes metro expansions with additional PoPs in the Secaucus area to serve New Jersey and the greater New York area. The new PoPs in Secaucus feature Infinera’s coherent ICE4 100G technology and enhance the local availability of high-speed IP Transit, Cloud Connect, Ethernet and IPX services for operators, content providers and enterprises. The expanded network also provides the capability to extend to new submarine cable landing stations in Virginia and New Jersey.

International network service provider RETN has revealed an upgrade to its Eurasian network running through Kazakhstan, called TRANSKZ, following the completion of the final stage of the project in May 2019 in cooperation with Kazakhstani operator Transtelecom. The announcement follows the official opening of the upgraded fibre-optic segment in Dostyk (Kazakhstan), located on the border with China. RETN’s CEO Dmitry Samarin said: ‘We are proud that due to our partnership with Transtelecom we managed to build a terrestrial route that is one of a kind, as it provides three fully diverse paths from Europe to the border with China and can boast one of the lowest latencies on the market.’

SEACOM has been awarded a grant of an undisclosed amount from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to conduct a feasibility study on the market potential for fibre services in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. The study will allow SEACOM to ascertain the specific areas of expansion in the chosen countries, including required network equipment and fibre-optic cabling. In addition to the study, SEACOM has revealed plans to add eight new PoPs across the African continent; the company has expanded its reach in Mombasa (Kenya) with the new Icolo data centre, with similar PoPs planned for construction in Nairobi (Kenya) and Kampala (Uganda).

Lastly, international carrier of carriers Ufinet has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Brazilian wholesale carrier Netell Telecom. The takeover will allow Ufinet to better serve its global customers in Latin America, leveraging Netell’s network in Sao Paulo’s metropolitan area and the surrounding region. Netell was established in 2002 and its network comprises more than 500km of fully-owned fibre and 1,300km of off-net network. Ufinet provides data connectivity services to operators and system integrators via 55,000km of fully-owned fibre-optic networks in almost all countries in Latin America, including Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Brazil.

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