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

20 Sep 2019

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has commenced construction works on the USD350 million Southern Cross NEXT cable, which will be owned and operated by a consortium comprising Spark New Zealand, Singtel Optus, Verizon and Telstra. Once complete in Q4 2021, the 13,700km system will have landing points in Alexandria (Australia), Apia (Samoa), Kiritimati (Kiribati), Los Angeles (US), Nukunonu (Tokelau), Savusavu and Suva (Fiji) and Takapuna (New Zealand). ASN CEO Philippe Piron said: ‘Alcatel Submarine Networks [ASN] is very pleased to launch the construction of Southern Cross NEXT, a new chapter after building the original Southern Cross dual cable network 20 years ago. The partnership we developed with Southern Cross all along these years in the Pacific is one of the most successful we ever had with a strategic customer.’ ASN was named as the cable vendor in April 2019, following the inking of a supply contract between Southern Cross and ASN. The deal will see ASN deliver a system with 72Tbps of capacity, building on the existing 20Tbps of capacity on current Southern Cross systems.

Orange Group, PCCW Global and PEACE have signed an agreement to deploy the Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) submarine cable, following the announcement of the draft deal in November 2018. The 12,000km PEACE system will link France to Pakistan through a single landing point in the city of Marseille (France) using the Europe-Asia route, and to the city of Mombasa (Kenya) via a short route towards the Indian Ocean that will extend to South Africa in the future, reaching a total length of 15,000km. The system will be deployed by Huawei Marine Networks; a contract for the cable manufacturing had been awarded to HENGTONG Marine. Orange will supply and operate the cable landing station in Marseille. Further, Orange has acquired 500Gbps of capacity on the cable between Marseille and Kenya in order to reduce its dependency on the EASSy system which links Djibouti to South Africa. Wu Qianjun, Vice President of Hengtong and CEO of PEACE, said: ‘The PEACE project has been progressing very well and the equipment manufacturing has been achieved more than 60%. The system will be ready for service on time, based on its schedule. We are confident that PEACE will provide low-cost capacity for those fast-growing regions and enhance the routing diversity in Asia, Africa and Europe.’

Ciena has completed an upgrade of the SeaMeWe-5 submarine cable system, resulting in a 100% active capacity increase. The SeaMeWe-5 system connects a number of countries across three continents – France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Djibouti, Oman, UAE, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore – offering 100Gbps DWDM technology and capacity of 24Tbps on three fibre pairs and is currently under upgrade to more than 36Tbps. It has carrier neutral PoPs at its main endpoints, located at Marseille (operated by Interxion), Palermo (Sicily) and Singapore (operated by Equinix and Global Switch). Ciena provided its GeoMesh Extreme, featuring the 6500 Packet-Optical platform, while its WaveLogic Ai will help lower the cost per 100Gbps by increasing the capacity per wave up to 300Gbps.

TM GLOBAL, the global and wholesale arm of Telekom Malaysia Berhad™, and Angola Cables are exploring a new express route connecting submarine cables in the southern hemisphere from Asia directly to South America. A Proof of Concept (PoC) testing is being conducted by both parties leveraging two systems, namely the 13,500km South Africa Far East (SAFE) cable linking Malaysia to Angola, and the 6,165km South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) connecting Angola to Brazil. The preliminary PoC results showed up reduction in the latency when compared to current northern hemisphere routes, the two operators claim.

Infinera has announced that OTEGLOBE has deployed Infinera’s Infinite Capacity Engine (ICE4) technology to double the capacity on the OTEGLOBE Kokkini-Bari submarine route connecting Greece and Italy. The two unrepeatered 350km cables between the two countries are a key part of OTEGLOBE’s network, providing an alternative route for wholesale carriers in Europe to connect to Asia and the rest of the world via OTEGLOBE’s Mediterranean hub in Greece. Panagiota Bosodgianni, CTO of OTEGLOBE, said: ‘With the introduction of ICE4, we managed to reach 10.8Tbps on the unrepeatered subsea links, exceeding our expectations.’

The Perth-to-Singapore portion of the SeaMeWe-3 submarine cable is currently out of service, following a fault which appeared between repeaters 345 and 346, iTnews writes. No estimated time for repair has been provided, with carriers currently routing traffic via alternative links.

Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), the submarine cable subsidiary of debt-laden Reliance Communications (RCOM), has filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware under Chapter 11 along 14 affiliated debtors, after it missed payment on its USD350 million senior secured notes, which matured on 1 August 2019. The company said: ‘Upon emergence from this process, the company expects to be well-positioned to aggressively pursue its business plan independent of the overhang caused by its corporate parent’s challenges,’ adding that in order to ensure maximum value for stakeholders, GCX will use the protections and framework of Chapter 11 to undertake a sale process to prospective buyers; GCX expects to complete the process in Q4 2019. GCX owns the world’s largest private undersea cable system spanning more than 68,000 route km.

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