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

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13 Sep 2019

RTI Connectivity (RTI) has announced that the installation on the Japan-Guam-Australia North (JGA-N) cable system between Minamiboso (Japan) and Piti (Guam) has begun. JGA-N’s submersible repeaters were manufactured by NEC Corporation and the submarine cable was manufactured by OCC Corporation. The system will have an initial design capacity of 24Tbps, which is expected to be expanded significantly by adopting a higher optical signal modulation format using the latest available NEC transponders. From its landing site at Minamiboso, the system will be extended by terrestrial dark fibres to two neutral data centres in Tokyo, providing capacity customers with access to RTI’s network. In Guam, the JGA-N will land at the Gateway Network Connections (GNC) facility, Guam’s first combined neutral cable landing station and data centre, where it will interconnect with the Japan-Guam-Australia South (JGA-S) system. The 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-N is expected to be commercially available in Q1 2020.

Filipino telecoms giant PLDT is planning to deploy two new international submarine cables in a bid to increase its global cabling capacity and complement the 14,000km Jupiter cable system currently being built in the Transpacific region. Genaro Sanchez, PLDT’s Vice President for Intentional Networks, told the BusinessMirror: ‘We have embarked on transforming our infrastructure. Some of the cables now landed in the Philippines need upgrading because they only have roughly 25 years of service life. We have three projects lined up.’ Jupiter, which will directly link Philippines to Japan and the US, will deliver capacity of more than 60Tbps when it is completed in early 2020. PLDT is aiming to ink the construction and maintenance agreements for the two other projects in October or November. The eastern link will connect Davao and Baler to Singapore and Japan via Indonesia, with plans to finalise the deployment by 2022. The western route, expected to be completed in 2023, will have a cable landing system in Batangas, which will be linked to Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Thailand, in addition to branches in Indonesia and Cambodia. Sanchez noted that these two projects are part of the PHP78 billion (USD1.5 billion) capital expenditure programme of the Filipino telco for 2019.

Construction works on the project aiming to link Chennai and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands (A&N Islands) via a 2,246km submarine cable at a cost of INR712.8 million (USD10.2 million) will begin in December 2019, with plans to finalise the deployment by the end of March 2020, The Hindu writes. The proposed cable will link Chennai to Port Blair and connect the islands of Havelock, Little Andaman (Hutbay), Car Nicobar, Kamorta, the Great Nicobar Islands, Long Island and Rangat. The cable will carry 100Gbps optical waves. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) handed NEC Technologies India (NECTI) the contract to design, engineer, supply, install, test and implement the optical submarine cable system in July 2018. NEC Corporation, the parent company of NECTI, will manufacture the optical submarine cable and provide technical assistance during the turnkey implementation. An Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) under the Union Environment Ministry approved a proposal to grant a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for the project in January 2019.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has submitted a petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stating that DHS has no objection to the FCC approving an application filed by a group of companies for a licence to land and operate within the US a fibre-optic submarine cable linking the US, Denmark, Ireland and Norway. The Havfrue submarine cable – to be owned and operated by a consortium comprising Aqua Communications (AquaComms), Facebook, Bulk Infrastructure and Google – will traverse the North Atlantic to connect mainland Northern Europe to the US. The system is comprised of a trunk cable connecting New Jersey (US) to Blaabjerg in the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark with branches landing in County Mayo (Ireland) and Kristiansand (Norway). The 7,200km cable system will be optimised for coherent transmission and will offer a cross-sectional cable capacity of 108Tbps, scalable to higher capacities utilising future generation Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) technology. AquaComms will serve as the system operator and landing party in the US, Ireland and Denmark, while Bulk Infrastructure of Norway will be the owner and landing party for the Norwegian branch options. The cable is scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) in Q4 2019.

Delhi-based optical fibre cable company Paramount Communication Limited (PCL) has successfully repaired the 330km Bharat Lanka Undersea Cable System (BLCS) system linking India with Sri Lanka, the Daily Pioneer writes. The cable was damaged near Tuticorin shores in February 2018. Dhruv Aggarwal, President (Strategy) at PCL, said: ‘The cable fault was located at 5.8km from Tuticorin beach manhole (BMH). The link is owned by a cable consortium comprising of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam limited (BSNL). The link is very strategic in nature to carry Indian traffic to Sri Lanka and is an important link for India. We got the opportunity to repair the damages and we are glad to do it successfully within the territorial waters of Bay of Bengal.’

Two China-US (CHUS) submarine cables off Whiskey Run, just south of Cape Arago (Oregon, US), are scheduled to be recovered this month by Mertech Marine, a global cable submarine telecoms cable recycling company based in South Africa. The operation will involve the recovery of two cables from near the shore to approximately 1,000 fathoms of water depth. Of the four AT&T cables that land south of Cape Arago, only the two CHUS cables will be recovered at this time. Mertech recycles the recovered cables at its facility in South Africa.

Singapore and China have established what it is claimed to be ‘China’s first point-to-point data link with another country’, dubbed China-Singapore (Chongqing) International Data Channel. A tie-up between Singtel, StarHub and China’s big three telcos, the 260Gbps data link will provide users with better network reliability and lower latency. Twelve Chongqing companies including tech giant Tencent and major data centre operator GDS have signed as the first customers of the data channel.

Russian operator Rostelecom, the government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the government of the Magadan Region have entered into a cooperation agreement to construct a fibre-optic communication line (FOCL) along the Yakutsk-Ust-Nera-Susuman-Yagodnoye-Magadan route. The new FOCL will provide backup channels for residents of Yakutia, Magadan, Sakhalin and Kamchatka. Under the agreement, Rostelecom will modernise the communication network infrastructure in the villages of Khandyga and Ust-Nera (Yakutia) and Susuman and Yagodnoye (Magadan), and connect other settlements on the Kolyma federal highway to fibre-optics.

International network service provider RETN has deployed Infinera’s Infinite Capacity Engine (ICE4)-based platform to power the 15,000km TRANSKZ network and complete the final stage of the project. A cooperation with Kazakhstani operator Transtelecom, the new terrestrial solution supports three diverse paths of similar lengths from Europe to the border of China via Kazakhstan and offers low-latency and high-capacity services linking all major locations in commercial and financial hubs between Europe and Asia. Working closely with Infinera, RETN completed the final 4,000km of the main route in Kazakhstan and deployed services on the long-distance network in less than 30 days. Tony O’Sullivan, COO at RETN, said: ‘Our network segment from Kazakhstan to the border of China, which we upgraded earlier in 2019 to complete the TRANSKZ network, experiences harsh weather conditions. We also anticipated other potential issues we’ve had to face working in these challenging territories. So, we needed to find the right solution, combined with the technical expertise of RETN engineers, the local partner, and the vendor, to ensure RETN received superior network performance.’

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