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

29 Nov 2019

The Japan-Guam-Australia South (JGA-S) submarine cable has landed at Narrabeen Beach in Sydney (Australia), with Alcatel Submarine Cable Networks’ (ASN’s) cable ship Ile de Brehat now scheduled to lay the cable north towards Guam. The JGA-S system is a private, non-common carrier fibre-optic submarine cable aiming to connect Guam and Australia. It will consist of a main trunk between Piti (Guam) and Sydney (Australia) and a branch to the Sunshine Coast; the system will have a total length of approximately 7,081km and will consist of two fibre pairs with a design capacity of a minimum of 18Tbps per fibre pair. JGA-S will be separately owned and operated from the in-deployment Japan-Guam-Australia-North (JGA-N) system between Guam and Japan, with RTI JGA holding 62.5% participation and voting interest in JGA-S and AARNet 12.5%, while Google will control 25% via three affiliate companies: GU Holdings (portion in US territory), Google Infrastructure Bermuda Limited (GIB, portion in international waters) and Google Australia (portion in Australian territory). JGA will wholly own the branching unit connecting the Sunshine Coast Branch to the main trunk. The system is scheduled to enter commercial services in March 2020.

RTI Solutions, RTI HK-G, RTI Connectivity and GU Holdings have submitted an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a licence to land and operate within the US the Hong Kong-Guam (HK-G) cable system, a private fibre-optic submarine cable network connecting Hong Kong and Piti (Guam). The applicants and their affiliates will operate the HK-G system on a non-common-carrier basis, either by providing bulk capacity to wholesale and enterprise customers on particularised terms and conditions pursuant to individualised negotiations, or by using the HK-G system to serve their own connectivity needs. The HK-G system will consist of one segment with a length of 3,693km, comprising four fibre pairs. Each fibre pair will have a total design capacity of 12Tbps (for a total of 48Tbps) using current technology. The HK-G system will land at a new cable landing station in Guam (known as Piti 2), which will be owned and operated by Gateway Network Connection (GNC); RTI Solutions will serve as the US landing party and control the Guam landing arrangements for the HK-G system under a contract with GNC. In Hong Kong, the cable is slated to land in an existing facility owned by NTT Com Asia (with RTI HK-G acting as the landing party). Commercial operation of the HK-G system is expected to commence by the fourth quarter of 2020.

Deep Blue Cable (US) and Deep Blue Cable Limited have requested the withdrawal of their application to construct, land and operate within the US a non-common carrier fibre-optic submarine cable. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the applicants explained that they are seeking to withdraw the application at this time as they are reviewing the scope of the project and may re-file their application in the near future. The two companies submitted their initial licence bid in March 2018; the duo planned to deploy a submarine cable system – called Deep Blue – connecting Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Saint-Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Florida and Puerto Rico. The system was slated to have a length of 12,000km, with plans to feature a total of three subsystems: Subsystem 1 (connecting Boca Raton in Florida to Mahuma in Curacao), Subsystem 2 (Naples in Florida to Maria Chiquita in Panama), Subsystem 3 (Marie Pampoen in Curacao to Chaguaramas in Trinidad), in addition to three segments (British Virgin Islands Branch, British Virgin Islands-Anguilla Segment and Anguilla-Saint-Martin Segment). Each segment (whether a subsystem trunk or branch) was planned to consist of up to eight fibre pairs with a design capacity of a minimum of 6Tbps per fibre pair (with a total initial lit capacity of 1Tbps).

BT Group’s infrastructure unit Openreach is reportedly searching for a new broadband equipment supplier as it continues to work on plans for the rollout of full fibre services to millions of premises across the country by the mid-2020s. According to Reuters, Openreach has launched an evaluation process seeking a third strategic vendor for its infrastructure rollout, to work alongside existing partners Nokia and Huawei Technologies. Commenting on the matter, Openreach spokesperson Richard Knowles said: ‘We already manage a large and diverse supply chain across our full fibre build, and we’re constantly reviewing our options to make sure we can carry on building a high-quality network that offers great value for money … We’re on track to make faster, more reliable full fibre broadband available to four million premises by March 2021.’ It is understood that proposals from would-be suppliers are expected to be made by January 2020, with a decision to follow in the second quarter of that year.

Internet2 has demonstrated the ability to transmit 400 Gigabit Ethernet traffic over a 1,367-mile circuit between Denver (US) and Chicago (US), in cooperation with CenturyLink, Ciena and Juniper Networks. The Chicago-to-Denver link used an open line system deployed by CenturyLink and Ciena as part of Internet2’s Next Generation Infrastructure programme. The route is designed to support 400Gbps and, eventually, 800Gbps traffic. The transmission also leveraged a pair of Juniper Networks PTX10003 core routers. Howard Pfeffer, president and CEO of Internet2, said: ‘The 400 Gigabit Ethernet link on the new Internet2 open line system is utilising state-of-the-art solutions from Ciena that will ultimately extend network programmability and scalability to our regional partners. Together with services from CenturyLink and demonstration switches from Juniper, this SC Conference deployment is a model example of the kind of capacity we expect the US R&E community to benefit from with the Next Generation Infrastructure programme.’

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