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

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30 Oct 2020

Japan, the US and Australia have announced plans to finance the deployment of a submarine cable to the Pacific island nation of Palau. The cable will branch off from the Transpacific ECHO submarine cable aiming to connect the US mainland with Singapore. Work on the 170km branch is scheduled to begin in 2021 and is expected to cost roughly USD30 million. The US Department of the Interior (DOI) has approved grant assistance funding of USD7 million to support the project; additional support is being provided by the US Agency for International Development, the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific, and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation in partnership with the Republic of Palau.

Submarine cable operator EllaLink has postponed the launch of commercial operations over the EllaLink system aiming to link Latin America to Europe to April/May 2021 from the previous deadline of December 2020, Teletime writes. The company disclosed that the decision was taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As currently planned, EllaLink will bring 72Tbps of connectivity between Europe and Latin America. The 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. According to EllaLink CEO Philippe Dumont, Nokia’s Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) unit has already manufactured the 6,200km cable, with the project now 75% complete.

Mauritius Telecom (MT) is reportedly planning to revive the IOX Cable System project by becoming a partial owner of the planned network, L’Express Maurice writes. The cable system is aiming to link South Africa with India, via landings in Mauritius, the autonomous outer island of Rodrigues and the French overseas territory of Reunion. As initially planned, the 8,850km cable – which was scheduled to be built by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) – would have a design capacity of 13Tbps per fibre pair and would deliver an ultimate design capacity of over 52Tbps. TeleGeography notes that in September 2017 MT inked an agreement with IOX Cable as an anchor tenant for the IOX Cable System.

Some internet users in Bangladesh are likely to experience slow connectivity as the SeaMeWe-4 submarine fibre-optic cable that connects Bangladesh’s international internet gateway (IIG) operators with Singapore is going through emergency maintenance, the Daily Star writes. IIG operator OptiMax Communication said: ‘There is an upcoming emergency I2I circuit maintenance to be held from 26 October to 31 October … During the maintenance period, most of the SeaMeWe-4 circuits will be down and you might face high latency, intermittent packet loss and jitter in multiple destinations.’ A senior official of the state-run Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company (BSCC) however clarified that the maintenance will only affect IIGs that are using SeaMeWe-4 from Cox’s Bazar to Chennai and then are connected to the l2l to reach Singapore; IIGs connected to Cox’s Bazar to Singapore through the SeaMeWe-4 system will not experience any issues.

Australia-based telecoms provider Telstra has announced plans to set up shop in Canada by establishing a PoP in Toronto in addition to providing infrastructure to connect Canada to its Transpacific submarine cable networks. Nicholas Collins, president of Telstra, Americas, said: ‘Canada has long been one of our most requested routes, and we believe that the time is right to provide a new, world-class option for Canadian businesses seeking to securely connect into the Asia-Pacific region.’ Telstra owns capacity on a number of Transpacific cable networks, such as Southern Cross, Telstra Endeavour, Asia America Gateway (AAG) Cable System, Reach North Asia Loop (RNAL) and New Cross Pacific (NCP) Cable System.

Telecom Egypt is aiming to construct Egypt’s largest international data centre, in a move to reinforce its standing as the largest submarine cable operator in the region. In a statement, the operator announced that the new data centre will be commissioned in early 2021 and will be situated in Cairo’s technology hub Smart Village. The data centre will have access to all global submarine cable systems in Egypt and ten Mediterranean and Red Sea submarine landing stations, giving it access to more than 60 countries around the globe. The operator said the data centre will have enhanced colocations services and higher levels of redundancy. The facility will host up to 2,000 racks over a 4 Colo Modular Facilities Campus. TE currently has six data centres across the country.

Lastly, the Nzadi Consortium and WFN Strategies have announced that the Nzadi Cable System project, which will be implemented offshore Angola, is now underway. The Nzadi Cable System will comprise a main trunk cable from Luanda to Cabinda in Angola with a branching unit for future connection to Soyo, as well as potential northward expansion to both the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Nzadi Cable System will consist of up to 14 fibre pairs and will connect between 15 and 30 offshore oil and gas assets. The telecoms cable system is slated to be ready for service (RFS) in the fourth quarter of 2023.

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Angola, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Mauritius, Palau, Portugal, Réunion, South Africa, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), IOX Cable Ltd, Mauritius Telecom (MT), Telecom Egypt, Telstra (incl. Belong)