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

23 Aug 2019

Canada’s federal government has announced CAD150 million (USD112.8 million) in funding for a broadband project aiming to deploy a submarine fibre-optic cable between Greenland and northern Canada by 2023. Local news source NNSL Media writes that the Government of Nunavut is pitching in CAD30 million for the project, which will provide 3,215 households in Iqaluit and Kimmirut, located in the northern territory of Nunavut, to high speed internet of 1Gbps. Canada’s Minister of Rural Economic Development Bernadette Jordan said: ‘This project will see the installation of approximately 1,700km of submarine fibre-optic cable from Nuuk, Greenland to Iqaluit [Nunavut] through the Davis Strait.’ A government press release added that the cable will also feature a branch to Kimmirut, which is located in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut. TeleGeography notes that Nunavut is the only jurisdiction in Canada solely connected via satellite.

The government of Cabo Verde has extended the USD25 million financial guarantee for the submarine fibre-optic project aiming to connect the country with Portugal and Brazil from 15 to 19 years. The EllaLink trans-Atlantic submarine cable 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), with planned landing sites in Cabo Verde, Sao Paulo (Brazil) and French Guiana. Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) finalised the cable route study for the EllaLink submarine cable system in May 2019, with cable manufacturing activities and marine operations expected to commence next year. The EllaLink system is designed to offer 72Tbps of capacity using leading edge coherent technology.

TELE-POST Greenland has completed the cable repair works on Greenland Connect breach near Qaqortoq, with all connections affected by the cable fault now restored. The country experienced two damaged submarine cables in the span of several weeks, after the Greenland Connect cable suffered a break between Nuuk and Qaqortoq on 27 December 2018 and the Greenland Connect Nord system was cut south of Sisimiut on 21 January. The Greenland Connect Nord system was subsequently repaired in March 2019, while works on the Greenland Connect cable were postponed until August due to adverse weather conditions.

The Mexican government has cancelled the tender for the 25,000km wholesale fibre-optic backbone network Red Troncal, which was scheduled for August, in order to give itself more time to work on its connectivity policy, El Financiero reported. The government was aiming to award a contract for the deployment, operation and maintenance of a pair of dark fibre-optic strands owned by state-owned electric utility CFE, with the contractor bearing all costs related to the project. Simultaneously, the winning bidder was to receive a licence to render wholesale broadband access services with a 30-year renewable term.

SEACOM is doubling the data capacity on its broadband submarine cable system from 1.5Tbps to 3Tbps, in order to enable ‘a greater number of businesses in Africa to utilise emerging technologies such as cloud computing’. SEACOM CEO Byron Clatterbuck said: ‘It’s not just about connecting from Africa to Europe and Asia anymore … A lot of content and computing power is moving onto the continent, so connectivity requirements are becoming more regional, and specifically interregional. With such a complex environment, greater capacity is essential.’ SEACOM also disclosed plans to expand further inland and to broaden fibre-optic access across the continent.

Huawei Marine Networks has achieved what it claims is ‘the longest ever 200G unrepeatered transmission over distance of 620.9km’ in trials at its Beijing Research Center with the participation of China Telecommunication Technology Labs (CTTL). The experiment replicates Huawei Marine’s previous trial in 2016, which achieved 100G unrepeatered transmission over 640km. In addition, the company performed further 100G tests, demonstrating a new transmission reach of 671.4km.

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Canada, Cape Verde, Greenland, Mexico, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Huawei Marine, SEACOM, TELE Greenland