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

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21 Aug 2020

Orient Link (OLL) and NEC Corporation (NEC) have signed an agreement to build the MIST submarine cable system, which will directly connect Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and India. The new 8,100km cable will deliver a design capacity of more than 216Tbps and is scheduled to be completed by the third quarter of 2022. OLL CEO Yoshio Sato said: ‘Globally, India and Southeast Asia are among the world’s fastest-growing economies. I am very pleased to announce the launch of MIST, providing a truly connected India to our clients around the world. Not only will MIST respond to the growing demands for inter-DC-connectivity across countries in the Southeast Asia region, but it ultimately allows for OLL to grow its offering and expand into India and beyond.’

RTI Connectivity (RTI) is planning to issue an invitation to an auction for a new submarine cable connecting Singapore, Indonesia and Guam, with a potential branching unit to Darwin (Australia), CommsDay writes. According to the news source, the tender documents call for a 100TB+ trunk between Singapore and Guam, with branching units to Darwin (and potentially Dili in East Timor) and a number of cities in Indonesia, including Jakarta, Java, Makkasar and Kauditan. In Guam, the cable would interconnect with RTI’s other cables to Australia, Japan and Hong Kong via the Gateway Network Connections hub. RTI CEO Russ Matulich was quoted as saying: ‘Trans-pacific connectivity has become harder. The IBC cable is superior path that ensures throughput between Asia and the US, while empowering Darwin.’

Facebook has released a statement highlighting plans to complete the deployment works for the JUPITER submarine cable project near Tierra Del Mar (located in Tillamook County, Oregon, US) between January and April 2021. The company initially commenced works on the network in early 2020, though in April a drill pipe snapped while being replaced, with approximately 335m of drill pipe, a drill tip, two tools for drill steering and tracking and approximately 24,600 litres of drilling fluid abandoned in the ocean. A company representative said in a press release: ‘During the construction of the six-inch cable bore pipe for the JUPITER submarine cable at Tierra Del Mar in April, a horizontal drill broke. The drilling was performed by SubCom, a company with experience drilling along the Oregon coast, using proven techniques. An environmental assessment determined that – instead of attempting to retrieve 1,100 feet of six-inch bore pipe resting 50 feet under the seafloor – it was better to leave things in place and no negative environmental impact would result. To respect Tillamook County’s desire for a short construction window, we intend to complete the work between January and April 2021. We are in communication with all the relevant government agencies and will continue to follow their guidance.’ The JUPITER submarine cable system aims to connect Maruyama and Shima in Japan with Los Angeles in the US and Daet in the Philippines. The 14,000km JUPITER network will deliver capacity of more than 60Tbps utilising ROADM which employs wavelength selective switch (WSS) technology, providing a greater diversity of connections and enhanced reliability for customers as well as optimised connectivity to data centres on the West Coast of the US.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted its approval for an extension of 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 newly approved STA expires on 16 February 2021. AT&T Corporation (AT&T) requested the extension on behalf of fellow owners of the system, 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).

Cabo Verde Telecom has commenced the construction of the technical terminal which will accommodate the EllaLink submarine cable aiming to link Europe and Latin America. The new infrastructure is being installed in the industrial area of Achada Grande Frente, located in the city of Praia, and is expected to be completed at the end of October 2020 so that the connection to EllaLink can be made by the end of the year. Joao Domingos Correia, chairman of the board of Cabo Verde Telecom, however, was cited as saying that there is a possibility of ‘a date slip of one or two months at most.’ As currently planned, EllaLink will bring 72Tbps of connectivity between the two continents. The 10,119km-long system will land at Sines in Portugal and at Praia Grande near Sao Paolo (Brazil), with branches to Fortaleza (Brazil), the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira and the island nation of Cape Verde. The system will be deployed by Nokia’s Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) unit and is scheduled to be RFS in 2020. Note that the only existing direct fibre-optic cable between Europe and Latin America, the ATLANTIS-2 (commissioned in late 1999), remains in service, although is based on ageing technology.

A review of the wholesale internet prices in Papua New Guinea is expected to be completed next month, according to the country’s Information, Communication Technology Minister Timothy Mausi. He said that currently there are three separate wholesale internet prices for the international submarine cable coming from Sydney: PIPE Pacific Cable-1 (PPC-1), Coral Sea Cable System (CS2) and Australia-Papua New Guinea-2 (APNG-2), though following the review there would be one universal wholesale price, adding: ‘The expected outcome is there will be a reduction in the wholesale price and it must be passed onto the retail customers and the general users of ICT services.’ The review is being undertaken by the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA).

Wholesale telecoms provider StrataNet has signed a multi-year contract with NTT to provide it with connectivity on the Japan to US route. The capacity contract will support immediate StrataNet customer requirements leveraging the Unity submarine cable system linking Chikura in Japan with Redondo Beach (California, US). StrataNet CEO Chris Wilson said: ‘This initial contract establishes a strong platform to expand our strategic relationship with NTT and enable greater access to NTT’s vast infrastructure and services base to improve the services StrataNet can offer its customers. In the past twelve months, we have seen increased requirements for capacity between Japan and USA from our customer base and with several new cable system builds being delayed we anticipate this demand to continue.’

Mosaic NetworX and Southern Cross Cable Network have announced a strategic partnership under which Mosaic NetworX will act as Southern Cross’ exclusive North American-based direct distributor of capacity. Under the terms of the agreement, Mosaic will provide direct connectivity to Southern Cross’ global, sub-sea capacity services targeted for hyper-scale, gaming, and enterprise customers in North America.

Lastly, Sao Paulo-based wholesale carrier Vogel Telecom has deployed Infinera’s Groove (GX) Series G30 Compact Modular Platform to double capacity on its network. Vogel Telecom deployed Infinera’s compact modular solution to upgrade its national fibre network infrastructure, which spans over 26,000km and supports high-capacity connectivity services across more than 600 cities in 13 Brazilian states.

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Australia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Virgin Islands (U.S.), Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), AT&T, Cabo Verde Telecom (CVT, incl. CV Multimedia), Facebook, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Infinera, National Information and Comms Technology Authority (NICTA), NEC, NTT (NTT East & NTT West), Orient Link, RAM Telecom International (RTI), Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN), Strata Networks, SubCom, Vogel Telecom (an Algar Telecom business)