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

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26 Jul 2019

Emirates Integrated Telecommunication Company (EITC), which operates under the brand name Du, has revealed plans to deploy the Orient Express submarine fibre-optic cable between Pakistan and the UAE. As the partnering telecom operator for the project alongside wi-tribe Pakistan, a group company of HB International Investments, the EITC will be the UAE landing party for the new cable and will provide landing station infrastructure for the system. The 1,300km cable system will stretch between Karachi and Gwadar in Pakistan, and Kalba in the UAE. The system is expected to be ready for service (RFS) in 2020.

The Solomon Island National Provident Fund (SINPF) is providing one third of the required funds for the deployment of the Coral Sea Cable System (CSCS) system, with the remainder to be footed by the Australian government, the Solomon Island’s Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare revealed. The Solomon Star cited SINPF Board Vice Chairman Aron Oritaemae as saying that SINPF’s total expenditure for the cable network project is just under SBD270 million (USD24.7 million), comprising a direct equity investment of SBD116 million for its 49% direct shareholding in the Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company (SISCC) and indirectly through the purchase of SBD150 million long-term development bonds. The funding will cover both the international system and the Solomon Islands Domestic Network, which will traverse approximately 722km along the Solomon Islands, linking the Malaita, Western and Choiseul Provinces.

Elsewhere in the Pacific, PNG DataCo has highlighted that 60% of the National Transmission Network (NTN) project connecting all provincial capitals and multiple international connections is now complete, with plans to deliver the system by next year, The National writes. Managing director Paul Komboi said that the NTN uses fibre-optics (submarine and terrestrial) as primary route and satellite as secondary route. The executive disclosed that multiple submarine cable breaks in the Kumul Domestic Submarine Cable Network around Lae in Bismark Sea waters triggered by an earthquake in Morobe in May 2019 are now scheduled for repair: ‘The cable repair ship is en route to PNG now and we are expecting the repair to be completed in mid-August … After completion of the repair, the cable ship will then proceed to install new submarine cables to Kerema (Gulf province) and Daru (Western province). This will complete transmission connectivity within the Southern region of PNG up to Lae (Morobe province) and Madang (Madang province). Which only leaves the islands and Wewak (East Sepik province) and Vanimo (West Sepik province) in Mamose region to be completed by the first quarter of 2020.’ The NTN comprises a number of projects, namely: the Highlands terrestrial fibre (Yonki-Hagen-Wabag-Mendi); the Coral Sea Cable System (CSCS, Sydney-Pom-Honiara); and the Kumul Domestic Submarine Cable Network, which comprises links to 15 coastal province capitals including connections to Jayapura (Indonesia) and Noro (Solomon Islands). PNG DataCo is working with Vocus, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company (SISCC) to ensure cable laying from Port Moresby to Sydney and Honiara is completed as planned.

Chile’s Transport and Telecommunications Ministry (MTT) and the Department of Telecommunications (Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones, Subtel) have launched a tender for a feasibility study for the Asia-South America Digital Gateway submarine cable project. The study is aiming to provide the technical, legal, financial and economic specifications for the construction of an undersea cable between the two continents. The potential cable route covers a distance of approximately 24,000km and its initial design includes between four and eight fibre-optic pairs, with a transmission capacity of 10Tbps-20Tbps. Bids for the contract, which is worth USD3 million, are being accepted until 16 August 2019, with the successful applicant expected to be announced on 2 September 2019. The final report is scheduled for release on 24 June 2020. The feasibility study is being financed by the MTT and the Development Bank of Latin America (Corporacion Andina de Fomento – Banco de Desarrollo de America Latina, CAF).

Lastly, CenturyLink has completed the first phase of an expansion project that will see its fibre-optic networks in the US and Europe grow by 4.7 million fibre miles. Under the first stage of the project, completed in June 2019, more than 50 cities in the US were connected via 3.5 million new fibre miles. The European leg of the project, scheduled to be finalised in the first half of 2021, will see 1.2 million fibre miles installed. Corning has supplied its SMF-28 ULL fibre and SMF-28 Ultra fibre in a hybrid Corning SST-UltraRibbon cable for the deployments.

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