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

1 May 2020

The Kumul Domestic Submarine Cable System has landed in Kavieng, located in New Ireland (Papua New Guinea, or PNG), Loop PNG writes. The project, part-funded by the Chinese Exim Bank (which provided 85% preferential buyers credit to the PNG government to carry out the project), is being rolled out by Huawei in preparation for the Coral Sea Cable System (CSCS). The domestic network is aiming to connect 15 coastal provincial capitals, running between Port Moresby, Alotau, Popondetta, Lae and Madang. The Kumul system consists of three sections; System 1 – connecting Jayapura to Arawa with seven branching units to Vanimo, Wewak, Lorengau, Madang, Kimbe, Kavieng and Kokopo – is currently under deployment; System 2 spanning 1,874km and connecting Madang to Port Moresby with three branching units to Lae, Popondetta and Alotau was completed in December 2018; and System 3 connecting Daru and Kerema to the existing branching units in the 200km PNG LNG system. The project should be completed and transferred to PNG by mid-2020.

Cable & Wireless Network Services (C&W) has applied for a new type of licence – a Submarine Communications Operating Licence (SubCOL) – which will allow the firm to provide capacity from submarine cables to Bermuda. The Regulatory Authority of Bermuda (RAB) said that the company’s application is conforming to its criteria and has invited all interested parties to provide their input on the application by 29 May.

AquaComms Americas has notified the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the pro forma assignment of the cable landing licence held by America Europe Connect Licenses Limited (AECL) for the America Europe Connect-1 (AEC-1) submarine cable system to AquaComms Americas. The pro forma assignment results from the restructuring of the indirect investment by Aqua Comms Designated Activity Company (Aqua Comms DAC) in the AEC-1 system. Pursuant to a Business Contribution Agreement by and between AEC and AquaComms Americas dated 17 April 2020 (and effective retroactively from 31 March 2020), AquaComms Americas took ownership of the US territorial waters assets of AEC-1 for which AECL was previously licensed. AquaComms Americas and AECL are sister companies and thus have the same direct and indirect owners and are ultimately controlled by the Bake Trust. In parallel, pursuant to a share transfer agreement between Aqua Ventures International FZE (AVI) and Aqua Ventures dated 27 March 2020, AVI agreed to transfer its shareholding in Aqua Comms DAC to Aqua Ventures. The move results in the pro forma transfer of control in the Havfrue cable system from AVI to Aqua Ventures. The Havfrue submarine cable – to be owned and operated by a consortium comprising AquaComms, Facebook, Bulk Infrastructure and Google – will traverse the North Atlantic to connect mainland Northern Europe to the US. The system is comprised of a trunk cable connecting New Jersey (US) to Blaabjerg in the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark with branches landing in County Mayo (Ireland) and Kristiansand (Norway). The 7,200km cable system will be optimised for coherent transmission and will offer a cross-sectional cable capacity of 108Tbps, scalable to higher capacities utilising future generation Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) technology.

Mauritius Telecom has revealed that the Europe India Gateway (EIG) cable system has suffered a fault between Portugal and Gibraltar. The operator said that the fault will not affect its subscribers in Mauritius, as ‘it has made the necessary arrangements to redirect internet traffic to other submarine cables.’ The EIG cable system is a 15,000km international fibre-optic submarine cable system that links the UK with Gibraltar, Portugal, Monaco, France, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India.

Orange Group’s fully-owned Italian subsidiary Elettra is embarking on the marine survey of a new submarine cable route for an unnamed cable system via its Urbano Monti cable ship. Elettra acquired the new vessel in September 2019; the ship will carry out various marine activities linked to submarine cables projects, particularly marine route surveys.

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Bermuda, Italy, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, United States, Aqua Communications (AquaComms), Facebook, Google (Alphabet), Huawei Marine, Mauritius Telecom (MT), Orange Group, Regulatory Authority of Bermuda (RAB)