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

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18 Sep 2020

Canadian full-service telco Telus and the government of Canada have announced a CAD5 million (USD3.8 million) investment for the deployment of a submarine fibre-optic cable between Sept-Iles, a city in the Cote-Nord region of eastern Quebec (Canada) and the Gaspesie region, a peninsula along the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River to the east of the Matapedia Valley in Quebec. The new connection will improve the reliability and security of telecoms services on the North Shore, with enhanced redundancy. Telus and the government of Canada plan to complete the deployment of the submarine cable by 2023. Once completed, the new infrastructure will be connected to Telus’ redundant telecoms network, which serves 14 isolated communities in the Lower North Shore.

The Malaysian government is planning to triple the bandwidth capacity of the Sistem Kabel Rakyat 1Malaysia (SK1RM) submarine cable linking West and East Malaysia to 12.8Tbps in three years, writes. The upgrade will involve a MYR100 million (USD24 million) allocation in addition to the original investment of MYR575.5 million made by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC, MYR383.7 million) and Telekom Malaysia (MYR191.8 million). The 3,800km SK1RM submarine cable network – deployed by NEC – is owned and operated by Telekom Malaysia and TIME dotCom. The system, which was certified ready for service (RFS) in September 2017, has six landings, namely Kuantan, Mersing, Kuching, Bintulu, Miri and Kota Kinabalu.

DNeX Telco Indonesia, an indirect subsidiary of Dagang NeXchange (DNeX), has inked a preliminary agreement with Infrastruktur Telekomunikasi Indonesia (TelkomInfra) to look into establishing a partnership focused on submarine cable deployment, maintenance and repair works within and outside Indonesia. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will make use of DNeX’s cable ship, CS DNeX Pacific Link, as the main vessel: ‘The MoU paves the way for DNeX group to expand its provision of services for submarine cable installation and repair works within and outside the territory of Indonesia and is expected to potentially boost the income of DNeX group in the future.’ The agreement is valid for twelve months.

Ocean Networks and its subsidiary Submarine Cable Salvage have announced the company’s award of a multi-year contract to identify, procure and repurpose Out of Service (OOS) submarine cable systems on a global basis. The OOS systems will be repurposed for ocean science to support disaster mitigation and environmental research. David Blau, COO of Ocean Networks, commented: ‘Being awarded this contract is a significant milestone for Ocean Networks and Submarine Cable Salvage. We are honoured to help advance the mission of the ocean science community and their collective goal to protect our oceans and the people living in coastal areas.’

Algerian Minister of Post and Telecommunications Brahim Boumzar has announced that the country will soon be connected to a new submarine fibre-optic cable, which ‘will reinforce the country’s data capacities supported by the existing cables’, Agence Ecofin writes. TeleGeography notes that the country currently boasts connections to the ALPAL-2 undersea system linking Algiers to Palma (Spain), SeaMeWe-4 (Asia-to-Europe), the 184km Medex branch (part of the TE North/TGN-Eurasia/SEACOM/Alexandros/Medex system linking Marseille in France to Abu Talat in Egypt), the Med Cable submarine system connecting Algiers with Marseille, and the 770km Oran-Valencia (ORVAL) system connecting Algeria to Spain.

The Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy) Management Committee has revealed additional details on the cause of the July 2020 internet blackout in Somalia. According to a statement: ‘On Sunday, 26 July 2020, a shunt fault occurred on the EASSy subsea cable along the Somali segment of the cable, affecting all traffic originating and terminating in Mogadishu as well as some traffic passing through on the EASSy system. As a result, Somalia’s internet and international voice traffic was cut off.’ The EASSy management team explained that such damage could result from a number of causes including ship anchors, trawler nets, dredgers or currents dragging the cable along the seafloor, as well as geological activity such as rockfalls or earthquakes: ‘At this stage, is has not been possible to determine what exactly caused the damage resulting in this shunt fault.’ The EASSy consortium repaired the fault by remotely switching on the branching unit (BU) by re-configuring the power set-up temporarily. In a report to the Ministry of Post, Telecom and Technology (MPTT), Dalkom Somalia – a local affiliate of the EASSy Consortium – revealed that the BU switch to restore traffic was performed as the cable fault was located at sea, 27km from Mogadishu. The 10,500km EASSy system runs along the East African coast, linking Port Sudan (Sudan) to Mtunzini in South Africa. It features a two-fibre pair configuration with a design capacity of more than 10Tbps.

Lastly, Paratus Zambia has deployed a 100Gbps metro fibre ring in Lusaka, the first such connection for the pan-African telecoms group. In addition to delivering data centre solutions, the enterprise network will now also provide business fibre-optic services.

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