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

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23 Oct 2020

Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has revealed that it has been awarded a contract to deploy the Eastern Arctic Undersea Fiber Optic Network (EAUFON). The project is funded by the Kativik Regional Government (KRG) and is aiming to connect five communities in northern Quebec that have been primarily dependent on satellite links. Based on two fibre pairs and offering speeds of at least 10Tbps on each fibre pair, the EAUFON system will be extendable in the future to connect other communities in northern Canada; the network is slated for completion by the end of 2021. The system supplied by ASN will integrate a suite of ASN’s submarine products, including high bandwidth repeaters, OADM Branching Units, SoftNode Submarine Line Terminal (SLTE) and modular duplicated Power Feed Equipment (PFE). ASN will produce the 1,200km fibre-optic submarine cable system in its facilities located in France and the UK.

Infinera and Seaborn Networks have announced the launch of new submarine network services on Seaborn’s AMX-1 network segment between Jacksonville (Florida) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Powered by Infinera’s XT Series submarine network platforms and featuring Infinera’s Infinite Capacity Engine (ICE) technology, Seaborn’s new network boasts modernised architecture and spectral efficiency, enabling the company to optically bypass cable landing stations and reduce network costs. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, AMX-1 landed in Cancun (Mexico) in December 2013 and was put into service shortly after. The 17,800km submarine cable was built by Alcatel-Lucent (now part of Nokia), with a design capacity of 100G. It links North and Central America to the southern tip of South America, with connection points in Miami and Jacksonville (US), Barranquilla and Cartagena (Colombia), Fortaleza, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), Cancun (Mexico), San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Puerto Barrios (Guatemala).

The southern Chinese province of Hainan is planning to build a submarine cable connecting the provincial capital city of Haikou to Southeast Asian countries, according to Chen Xingwu, deputy director of the Hainan Communications Administration. The province is currently deploying a submarine fibre-optic network to Hong Kong, which is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Global provider of marine surveys and services EGS has commenced a geophysical survey of the proposed CrossChannel Fibre system across the English Channel. Once complete, the EGS Pioneer vessel will be reconfigured to perform a UXO survey of the same route, with the final phase of the project set to be a shallow geotechnical investigation along the route. 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.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been notified that the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector will extend the initial reviews of applications for the deployment of the Hong Kong Americas (HKA) and Hong Kong-Guam (HK-G) submarine cable networks. The reviews of the HKA and HK-G systems will be extended by 21 days (until 21 January 2021) and 28 days (16 January 2021) respectively, after the applicants requested additional time to provide responses to questions posed by the Committee. The HKA submarine cable network, which will span more than 13,000km, will feature six fibre pairs and will stretch from Chung Hom Kok in Hong Kong to Hermosa Beach in California; additional connectivity options may be exercised in the future. The cable will be owned and operated by a consortium comprising China Telecom, China Unicom, Facebook, Tata Communications and Telstra, with a turnkey contract for the system awarded to Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) in January 2018. For its part, the HK-G system will consist of one segment with a length of 3,693km, comprising four fibre pairs. Each fibre pair will have a total design capacity of 12Tbps (for a total of 48Tbps) using current technology. The HK-G system will land at a new cable landing station in Guam (known as Piti 2), which will be owned and operated by Gateway Network Connection (GNC); RTI Solutions will serve as the US landing party and control the Guam landing arrangements for the HK-G system under a contract with GNC. In Hong Kong, the cable is slated to land in an existing facility owned by NTT Com Asia (with RTI HK-G acting as the landing party).

US-based global cloud networking provider GTT Communications has signed a definitive agreement to sell its infrastructure division to I Squared Capital, an independent global infrastructure investment firm, for USD2.15 billion. A press release says the division being offloaded ‘consists of GTT’s business and activities of providing pan-European, North American, subsea and trans-Atlantic fibre network and data centre infrastructure services’ to multinational clients. The infrastructure division sale includes selected network and data centre assets accumulated from several GTT acquisitions, including Interoute, Hibernia, and KPN International, that comprise: a 103,000 route kilometre fibre network with over 400 points of presence, spanning 31 metro areas and interconnecting 103 cities across Europe and North America; three transatlantic subsea cables, including GTT Express, the lowest latency route between Europe and North America; and 14 Tier 3 data centres and over 100 colocation facilities. The deal is expected to close, subject to satisfying all required regulatory approvals and contingencies, during the first half of 2021. GTT Communications provides a comprehensive portfolio of cloud networking services over its global Tier 1 IP network that includes traditional and software-defined wide area networking, global SIP trunking, advanced solutions, security and internet services.

EllaLink has announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Equinix to open three interconnection and managed colocation PoPs in Equinix data centres in Madrid (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The PoPs will be connected to the EllaLink landing site in Sines (Portugal) and onwards, over two diverse terrestrial routes. A low latency link will be established to connect to the Equinix data centres, avoiding the traditional subsea route via North America and significantly reducing round trip delay. The 10,119km EllaLink will be RFS in spring 2021, creating the first-ever high capacity direct fibre path between the two continents.

Avelacom has launched a new Chicago to Tokyo back-up route, linking two major financial centres and allowing for ‘robust trading systems among banks, exchanges and trading firms’. It is geographically diverse from the Pacific Crossing-1 (PC-1) submarine cable system used for most primary routes, with a five-millisecond difference in latency compared to the primary connection.

Lastly, RETN has expanded its presence into the Chinese market with a new PoP in Beijing. Directly connected to the RETN Eurasian network by redundant terrestrial links running through China to the Kazakhstan border, the new PoP boasts diverse international reach and reliable low latency services to Central Asia and Europe.

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Brazil, Canada, China, France, Guam, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), China Telecom Group, China Unicom, Crosslake Fibre, Facebook, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), GTT Communications, Infinera, Nokia Networks (formerly NSN), NTT COM Asia, RAM Telecom International (RTI), RETN, Seaborn Networks, Tata Communications, Telstra Global