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

10 Jan 2020

Reliance Industries Limited’s (RIL’s) telecom arm Jio is planning to deploy two new submarine cable systems connecting Asia and Europe with the western and eastern coasts of the US. An industry source told the Economic Times: ‘The two submarine systems will provide direct connectivity to the top content hubs worldwide, and the deployment is set to boost India’s data availability.’ As currently planned, the India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) system will connect Mumbai and Chennai to Singapore and the west coast of the US, while the India-Europe-Xpress (IEX) will connect Mumbai to Europe and the east coast of the US. The proposed submarine systems will feature multiple branching links to provide options to extend connectivity to the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. The IAX and IEX systems will provide more than 100Tbps of capacity at transmission speeds of over 100Gbps, and would employ the latest wavelength switching and intelligent rerouting technologies to ensure rapid upgrade and flexibility to switch waves across multiple locations.

Construction works on the project aiming to link Chennai and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands (A&N Islands) via a 2,246km submarine cable at a cost of INR712.8 million (USD10.2 million) have now commenced, with plans to finalise the deployment by the end of June 2020, newsonair.com writes. The new cable – comprising four fibre pairs with capacity of 6.4Tbps each – will initially link Chennai to Port Blair and subsequently connect the islands of Havelock, Little Andaman (Hutbay), Car Nicobar, Kamorta, the Great Nicobar Islands, Long Island and Rangat. The cable will carry 100Gbps optical waves. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) handed NEC Technologies India (NECTI) the contract to design, engineer, supply, install, test and implement the optical submarine cable system in July 2018. NEC Corporation, the parent company of NECTI, will manufacture the optical submarine cable and provide technical assistance during the turnkey implementation. An Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) under the Union Environment Ministry approved a proposal to grant a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for the project in January 2019.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been notified of the pro forma assignment of the cable landing licence for the Seabras-1 submarine cable system from Seabras 1 USA to Seabras 1 USA Debtor-in-Possession (Seabras 1 USA DIP), in connection with the pending bankruptcy proceedings of Seabras 1 USA DIP and its direct parent Seabras 1 Bermuda Debtor-in-Possession (Seabras 1 Bermuda DIP). The FCC originally licensed the Seabras-1 cable network in November 2016 and the system entered commercial services on 8 September 2017. To restructure Seabras 1 Bermuda’s debt, of which Seabras 1 USA is a guarantor, in December 2019 the two companies filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. During the pendency of the Chapter 11 proceedings, Seaborn Management will continue to manage the operations of the Seabras-1 system and exercise de facto control over the system pursuant to a management agreement between Seaborn Management and Seaborn Group, the direct parent of Seabras 1 Bermuda, as described in the original cable landing licence application. In the new notification, Seabras 1 USA DIP also acknowledged that ‘any substantive transfer of de jure or de facto control of the Seabras-1 system as a consequence of the Chapter 11 proceedings would require the FCC’s prior consent, although no such transfer of control or assignment is contemplated at this time’.

The Tillamook County Board of Commissioners voted 2-1 in favour of the proposed landing of the JUPITER submarine cable on a rural residential zoned property (located within the Tierra Del Mar area), The Associated Press writes. Local residents, which oppose the development, however are reportedly planning to appeal the decision to a state board. Property owner Edge Cable Holdings submitted an application for a conditional use permit to land the submarine fibre-optic cable on the oceanfront residential lot at 28560 Sandlake Road in early 2019. The JUPITER submarine cable system aims to connect Maruyama and Shima in Japan with Los Angeles in the US and Daet in the Philippines. The 14,000km JUPITER network will deliver capacity of more than 60Tbps utilising ROADM which employs wavelength selective switch (WSS) technology, providing a greater diversity of connections and enhanced reliability for customers as well as optimised connectivity to data centres on the West Coast of the US. The system will be supplied by SubCom and is scheduled to be RFS in Q3 2020.

Japan’s government is planning to formulate an ‘overseas expansion action plan’ – led by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry – covering areas such as the export of telecommunications infrastructure as early as this spring, The Enquirer writes. The action plan will include specific policies to support submarine cable exports. According to unnamed sources, the core of the new policies is likely to establish a system in which overseas submarine cable projects by private companies such as NEC, NTT and KDDI receive investment and financing from the public-private Fund Corporation for the Overseas Development of Japan’s ICT and Postal Services (JICT).

Internet services in Vietnam are expected to be restored by early next month, following the completion of repair works on three submarine cables, VnExpress writes. The repairs of the S1H branch of the disaster-prone Asia-America Gateway (AAG) system, which suffered a disruption in the section connecting to Ho Chi Minh City, about 163km from the shore off Vung Tau, were completed earlier this week, while the fault on the S1I branch connecting Vietnam and Hong Kong (which experienced a breakdown on 22 December) is slated for repair by mid-January. The Asia Africa Europe (AAE-1) and Intra Asia (IA) cables – which also experienced disruptions last month – will be fixed between 22 January-27 January and 29 January-3 February respectively.

Lastly, GlobalConnect, an integrated digital infrastructure provider in Northern Europe operating open fibre infrastructure spanning 42,000km, has announced the successful completion of a field trial demonstrating 400G coherent transmission over a 50GHz fixed grid metro transport network concurrently with pre-existing 10G channels, in cooperation with Infinera. Conducted over a live GlobalConnect optical link in the Oslo metropolitan area, the ‘industry-first’ field trial featured the latest coherent transmission capabilities of the Infinera Groove G30 Compact Modular Platform and seamless interoperability with deployed metro transport infrastructure. The error-free testing included multiple 300G and 400G alien wavelength transmission use cases over a live metro network link originally designed for and currently running 10G wavelengths using on-off keying (OOK) modulation technology.

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