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

18 Oct 2019

Batelco-owned telecoms operator Sure, which is the fixed line incumbent operator in the Channel Island of Guernsey and also operates in nearby Jersey, has announced a major five-year programme, under which it plans to invest ‘several million pounds’ to upgrade its submarine fibre-optic links with the UK. Local news source Guernsey Press writes that the initial phase of the project will result in an almost 300% increase in the firm’s network capacity to 300Gbps to meet the island’s bandwidth needs for the next five years. Sure CEO Ian Kelly said: ‘The importance of our subsea infrastructure really can’t be overstated. Guernsey has been winning business on the world stage as a direct result of our network resilience and of course it keeps all of us connected in our daily lives.’

The Australian island state of Tasmania could receive a new submarine cable – if the business case drawn up by investors proves sufficiently convincing. The construction of a new cable is being considered as part of the Marinus Link project, which is being jointly funded by TasNetworks and the federal government. A TasNetworks spokesperson told The Advocate: ‘The potential benefits have been investigated further and are likely to deliver significantly increased capacity via additional optical fibre across Bass Strait. There will be quite a bit more information provided in our upcoming business case assessment report due for release in December 2019.’ Like the Basslink cable before it, the project is primarily for an electricity interconnector cable connecting Tasmania and Victoria’s electricity grids.

The Indonesian government has completed the construction of its 13,000km nationwide Palapa Ring fibre network, which links Sabang in the west to Merauke in the east, and the northernmost island of Miangas to the southernmost island of Rote. The West Palapa Ring was completed back in March 2018, while the recently completed East Palapa Ring comprises some 6,878km of fibre infrastructure. Speaking at the State Palace in Jakarta on 14 October, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo said: ‘Today I’ve officially launched the Palapa Ring network that connects the capitals of 514 districts and cities across Indonesia … I will visit Wamena, Biak, Nabire and Rote Ndao soon and put the network to the test. People there have complained about slow connections for years.’

Telxius, the infrastructure arm belonging to Telefonica, NJFX, which operates a Tier 3 Cable Landing Station (CLS) colocation facility in Wall, New Jersey and Windstream Wholesale have collaborated on the deployment of what they have described as ‘the first-ever dual cable landing station terrestrial connection’. The link supports transmission capacity of over 500Tbps and connects the NJFX CLS with Telxius facilities in Virginia Beach. Telxius’ CLS campus serves as the landing point for the MAREA and BRUSA submarine cable systems, while the NJFX campus houses the HAVFRUE/AEC-2, Seabras-1 and Tata TGN-Atlantic cables; it will also serve as the landing point for the Wall-LI system (scheduled to be ready for service [RFS] in Q3 2021). Gil Santaliz, CEO at NJFX, noted: ‘The total capacity of the subsea cables coming out of these two cable landing stations is greater than all of the capacity of the previously placed North American subsea cables stretching across the Atlantic combined. Windstream and Telxius are bilaterally leveraging each company’s routes to address customer network diversity requirements and capacity needs.’

Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) has signed an agreement with INX-ZA, which will see the wholesale connectivity provider donate fibre to the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX). The contract will provide JINX with a redundant no-cost fibre link between the Isando and Parklands internet exchange point (IXP) locations, enhancing the exchange’s backbone capacity. The JINX is Africa’s oldest IXP and has been operational since 1996. INX-ZA also operates the Cape Town Internet Exchange (CINX) and the Durban Internet Exchange (DINX).

Finally, global interconnection and data centre company Equinix has entered into an agreement with Axtel to acquire three data centres that serve the Mexico City and Monterrey metro areas of Mexico for USD175 million in an all-cash transaction. The three facilities generated approximately USD21 million of revenues in the twelve months ending 31 December 2018. The acquisition is expected to close in Q1 2020, subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approval.

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Australia, Guernsey, Indonesia, Jersey, Mexico, South Africa, United States, Axtel, Basslink Telecoms, Dark Fibre Africa (DFA), Equinix, INX-ZA, NJFX, Sure Guernsey, Sure Jersey, Telxius, Windstream Communications