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

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17 Jul 2020

Crosslake Fibre has revealed its newest subsea cable project, dubbed CrossChannel Fibre. The 550km cable will connect Slough (United Kingdom) and Paris (France). The high fibre count, non-repeatered system will contain 96 fibre pairs, each providing over 20Tbps of capacity throughput, and will be ready for service (RFS) in the fall of 2021. To support this project, Crosslake Fibre has engaged EGS, a leading global provider of marine surveys and services, to undertake the marine and burial surveys for the project. Crosslake Fibre has placed the marine survey contract into force and survey activities have commenced. In addition, Crosslake Fibre’s capital partner, Tiger Infrastructure Partners, has invested additional capital into the Crosslake platform to support the CrossChannel Fibre system.

Altibox Carrier and NO-UK Com have announced that the marine survey for a new repeater-based cable system between Stavanger (Norway) and Newcastle (UK), dubbed NO-UK is now underway. Since the contract came into force in February 2020, the permits required to commence the offshore survey activities have been obtained by Xtera and the Fugro Galaxy vessel has now started survey operations in the North Sea. The marine survey will gather the sea-bed data required to finalise the marine route and allow selection of the appropriate cable types, which will in turn allow the installation permitting and manufacturing processes to commence. The new 700km system – featuring eight cable pairs – is expected to be RFS by the end of 2021. It will be part of a larger European fibre network established by Altibox Carrier, Euroconnect-1, that will ensure robust and state-of-the-art digital infrastructure. The NO-UK consortium comprises Altibox Carrier, Haugaland Kraft, BKK, Ryfylke IKS, Green Mountain, Polysys and Hatteland Group.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted its approval to an application filed by Pacific Carriage Limited (PCL) and Southern Cross Cables Limited to land and operate within the US a private fibre-optic submarine cable network connecting Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tokelau, Kiribati and California (US) known as the Southern Cross NEXT. The new Southern Cross NEXT cable is expected to be certified as RFS in January 2022, bringing 72Tbps of total design capacity between Sydney (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand) and the US.

Elsewhere, the FCC has given its consent to RTI Connectivity (RTI) to land and operate within the US territory the Japan-Guam-Australia North (JGA-N) cable system between Minamiboso (Japan) and Piti (Guam). The 2,600km system – solely owned by RTI – has an initial design capacity of 24Tbps, which is expected to be expanded significantly by adopting a higher optical signal modulation format using the latest available NEC transponders. From its landing site at Minamiboso, the system will be extended by terrestrial dark fibres to two neutral data centres in Tokyo, providing capacity customers with access to RTI’s network. In Guam, the JGA-N will land at the Gateway Network Connections (GNC) facility, Guam’s first combined neutral cable landing station and data centre, where it interconnects with the Japan-Guam-Australia South (JGA-S) system. The FCC also granted its approval for the landing and operation of the JGA-S network earlier this week (14 July).

The FCC has received an application to extend a previously granted Special Temporary Authority (STA) to allow the continued operation of the Taino-Carib cable system (linking Puerto Rico with the US Virgin Islands) while it considers the application for a new cable landing licence (filed in June 2018). The current STA expires on 10 August 2020. AT&T Corporation (AT&T) has requested the extension on behalf of fellow owners of the system, including Embratel, Orange and C&W Networks, following the expiration of the prior cable landing licence. The 186km Taino-Carib system, which was certified ready for service (RFS) in December 1992 has landing points in Condado Beach and Isla Verde (Puerto Rico, US) and Magen’s Bay (US Virgin Islands).

The National Communications Authority (Nasjonal kommunikasjonsmyndighet, Nkom) has awarded a contract to Telia Carrier to provide a new, diverse route between Norway and the rest of the world, based on Bulk Infrastructure’s Havsil submarine cable from Oslo via Kristiansand to Denmark. Elise Lindeberg, Director of Security Department at the Nkom, said: ‘With this agreement, we facilitate increased geographical distribution of traffic between Norway and abroad on a daily basis, and we also ensure that our national needs are taken care of should serious incidents occur that affect the existing international traffic to Sweden.’ Telia Carrier will serve as an anchor customer on the system. In Esbjerg, the new route will interconnect with the wider Telia Carrier pan-European network; it will also include two new PoP locations, independent of Telia Carrier’s existing PoPs, in the data centre OS-IX (Oslo Internet Exchange) in Oslo and the hyper-scale N01 Campus in Kristiansand, both owned by Bulk Infrastructure. The Havsil system is scheduled to be RFS by the end of 2021.

Sparkle and Ciena have announced the upgrade of Sparkle’s 10,476km next-generation fibres on the Curie submarine cable. By adopting Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Extreme (WL5e), Sparkle’s fibre on Curie will be able to reach a total transmission capacity of up to 450Gbps per channel – which is two times faster than previously available technology. This will result in an ultimate capacity of up to 19Tbps and a 30% increase in the network’s ability. Sparkle will also have direct connectivity between data centres in the US and Chile using Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme Submarine Network Solution powered by WL5e. In addition, through Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller, Sparkle will be provided with real-time intelligence and visibility to help its network identify connectivity issues.

Lastly, Infinera has revealed that European research network GEANT selected Infinera’s 600G transmission technology for its next-generation pan-European network. Using Infinera’s Groove (GX) Series Compact Modular Platform, FlexILS Open Optical Line System and professional services, GEANT is undertaking a ‘significant refresh’ of its network as part of a major EU-funded project. With Infinera’s networking solutions, GEANT can effectively provide high-speed services to its customers using 600G per wavelength transmission. Additionally, the scalable network is designed to enable GEANT to scale capacity to multiple terabits seamlessly.

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