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

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24 Apr 2020

New Caledonia’s Office des Postes et Telecommunications de Nouvelle-Caledonie (OPT-NC) has selected Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) for the construction and installation of a new international submarine cable to Fiji (dubbed Gondwana-2) and a domestic cable called Picot-2 linking Lifou, Mare, Iles des Pins and Grande Terre, writes. The operator launched the tender process for the new international cable in March 2019, in a bid to provide additional network capacity and resilience to the existing Gondwana-1 cable system, which connects Noumea in New Caledonia to Sydney (Australia), and extend the domestic Picot-1 system. The five-year contract with ASN is worth XPF4.47 billion (USD4.3 million) and the work is due for completion in early 2022. The proposed one-fibre pair cable will link Nouville (Noumea) in New Caledonia to Fiji International Telecommunications’ (FINTEL’s) landing station in Suva (Fiji) with a proposed branch to Vanuatu, providing total capacity of 200Gbps.

The parliament of Azerbaijan has ratified an agreement – initially signed on 28 November 2019 in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) – that envisages the laying of a fibre-optic backbone cable between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan through the bottom of the Caspian Sea, the Middle East North Africa Financial Network (MENAFN) writes. According to the agreement, the Trans-Caspian fibre-optic cable will be rolled out by AzerTelecom and Turkmentelecom and will run from Siyazan to Turkmenbashi. The 300km backbone network will allow the transmission of data with a capacity of at least 2Tbps-4Tbps and form the Digital Silk Road from Europe to Asia via Azerbaijan. The project consists of Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan routes. The agreements for the construction of the 400km long Trans-Caspian Fiber Optic (TCFO) cable between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have already been signed.

Repair work on the disaster-prone Asia America Gateway (AAG) submarine cable, which links Vietnam to Hong Kong and the US, was completed earlier this week. A local internet service provider confirmed that internet connections in the country have resumed full service after the technicians’ team finished repair work on the faulty cable section. The provider also said the problem was caused by a ‘fault location’ between Repeater 1 and 2 on the branch connecting Vietnam and Hong Kong, which experienced technical problems on 2 April. Elsewhere, Telekom Malaysia has revealed that the planned preventive maintenance works by the consortium of operators which maintains the AAG submarine cable network have been completed, with data connectivity to sites and servers hosted in the US and Hong Kong now fully restored. Telekom Malaysia said that the maintenance work had been completed in five days from its start on 17 April.

Telekom Malaysia has disclosed that it managed to restore full capacity over the Asia Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN-2) submarine cable by fully rerouting and optimising traffic through alternate international link routes. In early April 2020, the consortium of operators which maintains the APCN2 system detected faults in Segment Three of the system, between Chongming (China) and Lantau (Hong Kong); the repair works on the system are said to be underway. The 19,000km APCN-2 system was certified ready for service (RFS) in December 2001, linking Singapore to Malaysia, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan.

The Republic of Congo has decided to conduct an administrative, financial and accounting audit of the management of the Central African Backbone (CAB) project for the 2020-2021 period, Agence Ecofin reports. The government launched a tender on 17 April to select the firm that will be in charge of the audit with submissions to be accepted until 5 May. According to the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and the Digital Economy (Minister des Postes, Telecommunications et de ‘Economie Numerique (MPTEN), the selected firm will look at the management of resources allocated to the CAB-Congo project at the end of each financial year, by reviewing financial statements, statements of expenditure and special accounts of all resources received by the CAB project, both from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Congolese government’s counterpart.

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Azerbaijan, Congo, Rep., Fiji, New Caledonia, Turkmenistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Azertelecom, Fiji International Telecommunications (FINTEL), Ministry of Posts, Telecoms and the Digital Economy (MPTEN), Office des Postes et Telecoms de Nouvelle-Caledonie (OPT-NC), Telekom Malaysia, Turkmentelecom