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

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5 Jun 2020

Huawei Marine Networks (HMN) has announced the completion of the marine survey for the Maldives Sri Lanka Cable (MSC) aiming to connect Hulhumale, an island in the Maldives archipelago, to Mount Lavinia in Sri Lanka. The 840km MSC system will comprise four fibre pairs, equipped with Huawei’s high-output titanium housing repeaters deployed at 3,700m water depth. The cable will be owned and operated by a consortium of investors including Ooredoo Maldives, Dhiraagu and Sri Lankan telecoms operator Dialog Axiata; both Dhiraagu and Ooredoo Maldives will each hold a 45% share of the cable, while the remaining 10% will be owned by Dialog Axiata. The MSC system is expected to be ready for service (RFS) by the end of 2020.

The Teliri cable ship, owned by Orange Group’s Italian subsidiary Elettra, has commenced the deployment of the Melting Pot Indianoceanic Submarine System (METISS). The system landed on Fort Dauphin (Madagascar) earlier this week, with deployment works set to continue until August. The construction of the cable, including repeaters and connection units, was carried out by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN). The 3,200km fibre-optic cable will connect South Africa, Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius, delivering 24Tbps of design capacity. The project, which was initiated by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), will benefit from the financial backing of the EU and the French Development Agency (Afd). The project is being developed by a number of telecoms operators – Telma and Blueline of Madagascar, Emtel and CEB FiberNET of Mauritius, Zeop and SFR of Reunion, and Canal+ Telecom of France.

MCI Communications Corporation (MCI) and Verizon Business Global (Verizon Business) have requested the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) consent to the pro forma assignment of MCI’s approximate 7.35% interest in the MAYA-1 submarine cable to Verizon Business in connection with an internal restructuring involving certain direct and indirect subsidiaries of Verizon Communications. The restructuring is scheduled to occur on or around 30 June 2020. The restructuring includes the elimination of multiple companies in the Verizon ownership chain, as well as the conversion of certain companies from corporations to limited liability companies. In a separate filling, MCI International Inc (MCII) has requested the pro forma assignment of its interests in several cable systems to MCI International LLC (MCII LLC). The cables in question are: Antillas 1 (4.08% ownership), Americas II (8.4%), Bahamas II (7.48%), TAT-14 (13.24%), Columbus III (18.04%), Taino-Carib (11.16%) and Pan American (10.98%).

Internet services in Vietnam are expected to be fully recovered on 11 June, as repairs of two major undersea cables are completed, Vietnam Plus writes. The Asia-Pacific Gateway (APG) cable is expected to be fixed between 6-11 June. The 10,400km system boasts a capacity of 54Tbps and connects eight countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region. The cable suffered a rupture at Section S9 linking Vietnam and Singapore in late April, while a second fault – at Section S1.7 – was reported on 23 May. The Asia-America Gateway (AAG) undersea cable, meanwhile, is also under repair which is expected to be finalised on 6 June. The system suffered a fault 107km off the beach town of Vung Tau in southern Vietnam on 14 May. The USD560 million AAG stretches more than 20,000km connecting Southeast Asia with the US, passing through Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Since its inception, the system has experienced numerous faults, the most recent one being in April 2020, when a ‘fault location’ between Repeater 1 and 2 on the branch connecting Vietnam and Hong Kong rendered the cable out of service for around three weeks.

Lastly, Paraguay has completed the first stage of its 16,000km National Fibre-Optic Network (Red Nacional de Fibra Optica, RNFO). Using a ring topology, 27 fibre-optic nodes were installed and activated in several of the largest cities in the Asuncion-Ciudad del Este-Encarnacion triangle, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (Ministerio de Tecnologias de la Informacion y Comunicacion, MITIC) said in a statement. In stage 2 of the project, the backbone will connect the southern part of the country (Asuncion, Alberdi, Pilar, Laureles, Ayolas and Encarnacion) while phase 3 will cover the country’s northern and south-central regions. The project consists of the unification of four fibre-optic networks operated independently and owned by state-backed firm Copaco, utility firm Administracion Nacional de Electricidad (ANDE), the Ministry of Interior (Ministerio del Interior) and the Ministry of Finance (Ministerio de Hacienda). A consortium led by Asuncion-based firm Celexx was awarded a USD12 million contract at the end of 2018 to integrate the networks.

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