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

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14 Aug 2020

Edge Cable Holdings (Facebook), AquaComms, Cable & Wireless Americas Systems and Microsoft Infrastructure have applied for a licence to land and operate within US territory the Amitie system, a private fibre-optic submarine cable network connecting the US, the UK and France, to be operated on a non-common-carrier basis. The Amitie system will consist of three segments: Segment 1.1 will connect Lynn, Massachusetts with a branching unit in the Atlantic Ocean between the UK and France; it will have 16 fibre pairs, each having a design capacity of 20.1Tbps using current technology, and a length of 5,276km. Segment 1.2 will connect Bude (UK) with the branching unit via twelve fibre pairs, each having a design capacity of 20.1Tbps and a length of 645km. Segment 1.3 will connect a new landing station in Le Porge (France) with the branching unit via twelve fibre pairs, each having a design capacity of 20.1Tbps and a length of 871km. Orange Group will serve both as the France landing party for the system and will own a portion of the system extending twelve nautical miles from the French shore; the company will grant to the applicants and their affiliates dark fibre IRUs on that portion of the system. The applicants intend to commence commercial operations of the Amitie system by Q1 2022, therefore seeking a timely grant of a cable landing licence (no later than 31 July 2021) in order for the construction activities to proceed on schedule.

Bezeq (Israel Telecommunication Corporation) has won a tender to lay a submarine cable called Blue-Raman linking Europe and Asia via Israel. Bezeq beat rival HOT Telecommunication Systems in the final bidding stage of the auction, with IBC/Cellcom Israel and Partner Communications also participating in the earlier stages. The Blue-Raman system will comprise two distinct cables; the Blue portion of the cable system will link Genoa (Italy) and Israel via the Mediterranean Sea, with onward terrestrial section from the Mediterranean coast to Eilat (Israel); the section will also interconnect with the Raman cable at Aqaba (Jordan). The Raman cable will link Aqaba to Mumbai (India) via an unnamed country (presumed to be Saudi Arabia). Telecom Italia’s Sparkle subsidiary is partnering with Google on the western portion while the Raman portion is being developed with Omani telecom company Omantel. Under the terms of the tender Sparkle is not committed to buying both cables. As part of the project a landing station will be built between Haifa and Rishon Lezion, connecting the submarine and terrestrial cables; the landing station infrastructure will be subject to a separate tender. At an estimated cost of USD400 million, the Blue-Raman cable is expected to reach Israel in 2022.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated a 2,246km submarine cable linking Chennai and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands (A&N Islands), the Financial Express 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 deliver bandwidth of 2×200Gbps between Chennai and Port Blair, and 2×100Gbps between Port Blair and the other islands. 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.

Cayman Island’s government has issued a request for information (RFI) for the proposed deployment of a new submarine cable in the country, with the consultation scheduled to run until 18 August. Currently, two systems land on Cayman shores: the MAYA-1 cable linking the island to the US, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia, and the Cayman Jamaica Fibre System, which connects the Cayman Islands to Jamaica. According to the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure (MCPI), the aim of the RFI is to gauge the market’s interest in the project, understand the key risk factors that must be considered to land a new submarine cable and understand the key success factors that need to be accounted for when landing the new cable. The consultation also aims to ‘determine the steps that the Cayman Islands Government needs to take pre-procurement in order to attract proposals.’

Internet users in Bangladesh are reportedly experiencing connection issues due to a technical glitch in the SeaMeWe-5 submarine system. Moshiur Rahman, managing director of the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company (BSCL), told ‘There are problems with the power supply to the second submarine cable in Patuakhali. Repair works are ongoing and hopefully it’ll be fixed by the day’s end.’

The Congolese government has commenced the construction of a 347km fibre-optic link connecting the Republic of the Congo with neighbouring Cameroon, as part of the Central African Backbone (CAB) programme. The new network will run from Ouesso in Congo to Ntam in Cameroon, via Paris, Biesse, Sembe and Souanke. The route will be deployed by Huawei and China Communications Service International (CCSI). Within Congo, the national fibre-optic backbone runs from Brazzaville to Ouesso in the north, to Pointe Noire via Dolisie in the west, and from Dolisie to Mbinda on the border with Gabon.

Zimbabwean fixed line incumbent TelOne has completed a 65km fibre-optic link from Makuti to Chirundu, located on the border with Zambia, complementing an alternative route to Zambia via Kariba. TelOne currently operates a national fibre backbone spanning over 4,000km.

Angola Cables has introduced a ‘pay-as-you-go’ option, dubbed IP_Flex, aiming to ensure that ISPs have a dedicated and direct connection to CDNs, OTTs, IXPs and cloud service providers preventing any disruption to data services for customers and end users.

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