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

20 Dec 2019

Japanese communication giant NTT has announced its plans to build a submarine cable network linking Singapore to India (Chennai and Mumbai) and Myanmar. The 11,000km MIST cable will feature a total design capacity of 240Tbps with 400Gbps DWDM technology, including capacity for future expansion. The system is expected to cost around USD400 million, with a scheduled ready for service (RFS) date of June 2022. The construction of the MIST system will be overseen by NTT’s strategic joint venture for international submarine cables in South East Asia, dubbed Orient Link. NTT holds a 42% stake in the venture, with the Japan ICT Fund taking a 38% holding and Singapore-based Wen Capital owning the remaining 20%.

Algeria’s Minister of Post, Telecommunications, Technology & Digitalisation, Houda Imane Faraoun, has officially inaugurated the 770km Oran-Valencia (ORVAL) submarine cable linking Algeria to Spain, backed by Algerie Telecom in partnership with IslaLink and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN). ORVAL – which cost the Algerian government around USD30 million – has a maximum upgradeable capacity of 40Tbps, and will provide Algeria with international network security via route diversity. The cable, managed by Algerie Telecom Europe, was significantly delayed, having previously missed a mid-2017 launch target. Furthermore, the minister has also announced the completion of a cross-border fibre-optic network link with Mauritania, reports Agence Ecofin. The deployment of the 75km Algeria-Mauritania fibre section follows last month’s completion of a 440km terrestrial fibre route crossing Algeria’s southern border with Niger.

The Manatua submarine cable aiming to connect Apia (Samoa) to To’ahotu (Tahiti) has landed in Aitutaki (Cook Islands). The system will comprise a two/three fibre pair trunk, with branching units to Niue, Aitutaki (Cook Islands, one fibre pair), Rarotonga (Cook Islands, three fibre pairs) and Vaitape (French Polynesia, one fibre pair). The cable is scheduled to next land in Rarotonga (Cook Islands), followed by French Polynesia in early 2020; the system is scheduled to enter commercial services in June 2020. The international treaty for the system’s deployment was inked in April 2017 by the President of French Polynesia, the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, the Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa, and the Premier of the Government of Niue.

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 giving its conditional approval to an application filed by Telxius USA, Telxius Puerto Rico and Telxius America to amend the landing licence to the South America-1 (SAm-1) cable in order to authorise the construction of a segment to the Dominican Republic and to include Telxius Cable America as a joint licensee. The 25,000km SAm-1 system (licensed in 2000) is a non-common carrier cable system that connects Boca Raton (Florida); San Juan (Puerto Rico); Las Toninas (Argentina); Fortaleza, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and Santos (Brazil); Arica and Valparaiso (Chile); Barranquilla (Colombia); Punta Carnero (Ecuador); Puerto Barrios and Puerto San Jose (Guatemala); and Lurin and Mancora (Peru). The SAm-1 cable has up to four fibre pairs per segment, with each fibre pair featuring a current design capacity of 19.2Tbps. The proposed new segment to the Dominican Republic will be approximately 80km in length and will connect the existing Branching Unit 5 on theSAm-1 segment between San Juan and Barranquilla with a new cable landing station at Punta Cana (Dominican Republic). The SAm-1 DR Spur will consist of two fibre pairs with a design capacity of 10Tbps each, and an initial lit capacity that has not yet been determined; the spur will be owned and operated by Telxius Dominicana. Further, the applicants have requested that Uruguayan company Telxius America is added as a joint licensee, as it owns a 5%-or-greater interest in the cable system and uses the US end points of the SAm-1 cable system.

The Japan-Guam-Australia South (JGA-S) submarine cable is expected to land at Maroochydore in Queensland (Australia) by the end of this week, mysunshinecoast.com.au writes. The 550km cabling is onboard Alcatel Submarine Cable Networks’ (ASN’s) cable ship Ile de Brehat, which is scheduled to lay the system 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 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 mid-2020.

Internet services in Pakistan have been restored, after the Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1) system experienced a technical fault earlier this week. The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) said: ‘We are pleased to share that PTCL services have been restored across the country. The technical fault that occurred in the international submarine cable AAE-1 near Doha has been rectified and fixed.’

Pan-African network connectivity company Paratus is in the process of completing a redundancy route between Namibia and Maputo (Mozambique). The company revealed in August 2019 that it finalised its 4,160km Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) network connecting the West Africa Cable System (WACS) landing station in Swakopmund (Namibia) with Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) on Africa’s east coast; the route is fully operational under one single Autonomous System Number (ASN) and boasts a Round Trip Time (RTT) of 62ms. The new Maputo link will interconnect with the TKF network and will be the company’s second East-to-Westcoast Africa connection.

Italian wholesale operator Open Fiber has announced that its fibre-optic backbone network, dubbed ZION, achieved a record speed of 600Gbps. The company claims that the speed is a ‘first’ for a long-distance national backbone network built in Italy on an active infrastructure, with the highest spectral efficiency ever reached, adding that the new performance has been improved thanks to the introduction of a new optical digital signal processor (oDSP) that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms to encode and modulate the optical signal, provided by Huawei.

Internet2 has selected CenturyLink’s new low-loss fibre network to transform its research and education network. CenturyLink has also been selected to provide the professional services to migrate Internet2 to its new platform, which will be equipped with a flex-grid open-line system being provided by Ciena. The new contractual fibre-use agreements will extend through at least 2042. With the low-loss optical fibre and the upgraded optronic kit, Internet2 will have the ability to reach anywhere on its domestic footprint with an unregenerated wavelength of up to 200G. Many high-use spans on Internet2’s Network will also support 400G and 800G wavelengths with existing technologies and higher bitrates are expected in the coming years as new DSP technology comes into production.

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Algeria, Australia, Cook Islands, Dominican Republic, Guam, India, Italy, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, Singapore, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Algerie Telecom (AT), CenturyLink, Ciena Corporation, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Google (Alphabet), NTT (NTT East & NTT West), Open Fiber, Orient Link, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), Paratus (Namibia), RAM Telecom International (RTI), Telxius