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

11 Oct 2019

Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN) and Pioneer Consulting have announced that the Southern Cross NEXT project has achieved Contract in Force (CIF) and has entered the construction project phase, with the 16,148km system expected to be certified as ready for service (RFS) in January 2022, bringing 72Tbps of total design capacity between Sydney (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand) and the US. The US-Australia Trunk will have a length of 13,483km and land at existing landing points in Sydney (Australia) and Hermosa Beach (California). The Takapuna Branch will connect a branching unit on the main trunk to Takapuna (New Zealand); it will have a length of 1,301km and will comprise two fibre pairs, one of which is an express pair connecting Takapuna directly to Hermosa Beach and Sydney. The 309km Suva Branch will land at an existing facility in Suva (Fiji) and will consist of one fibre pair, to be owned and operated by Fiji International Telecommunications. The Savu Savu Branch (comprising one fibre pair and owned by the Fiji government) will stretch 305km to a newly-established landing point in Savu Savu (Fiji). The Apia Branch will link the main trunk with Apia (Samoa) via one fibre pair with a length of 310km and will be owned by the Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC). The Nukunonu Branch (owned by the Telecommunication Tokelau Corporation will also comprise one fibre pair and will stretch 53km to a newly built landing station in Nukunonu (Tokelau). The 377km Kiritimati Branch, owned by Bwebwerikinet Limited, will connect the main trunk to a new landing facility in Tabwakea, Kiritimati (Kiribati) and will comprise one fibre pair.

Construction work on the Solomon Islands Domestic Network (SIDN) has now commenced, with the project scheduled to be completed by the end of October. The 730km domestic submarine cable system will connect Honiara in the Solomon Islands to Auki (Malaita Island), Noro (New Georgia Island) and Taro Island. The network will also interconnect with the 4,700km Coral Sea Cable System (CSCS) linking Australia to Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Solomon Islands, which is on track for completion by December 2019. The international four fibre-pair system will deliver a minimum of 20Tbps capacity to PNG and the Solomon Islands, respectively, bringing a total capacity of 40Tbps. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, in July 2018 Australia’s Vocus Group enlisted Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) to build the CSCS cable. The AUD137 million (USD101 million) cable project was awarded to Vocus by the Australian government in June 2018.

French submarine company Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has acquired light construction vessel Toisa Warrior from UK-based Sealion Shipping for USD6 million. ASN has renamed the vessel Ile d’Ouessant, with plans to primarily use it as a maintenance vessel for submarine cables in the Atlantic (replacing 1982-built maintenance cable ship Peter Faber).

The Angolan government has moved ahead with its previously released plans to privatise around 55 state-owned companies with a cumulative deficit of USD173 million, by finalising the restructuring of Angola Telecom (AT), news agency ANGOP writes. The government aims to sell 45% of the telco by 2021, while stakes in submarine cable operator Angola Cables and MSTelcom, Net One, Unitel, TV Cabo Angola and Multitel will also be offered to private investors. Angola Cables – 51%-owned by AT, while Unitel is in possession of 31% and MSTelcom 9% – currently operates two intercontinental submarine cables, the 6,165km South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) linking Brazil to Angola (certified RFS in September 2018) and the 10,556km Monet between the US and Brazil (December 2017).

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Angola, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Angola Cables, Angola Telecom (AT), Fiji International Telecommunications (FINTEL), Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC), Vocus Group (incl. Commander, Dodo, iPrimus)