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

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18 Dec 2020

The United States has reportedly warned a number of Pacific island nations about the security threat posed by the cut-price bid by HMN Tech (formerly Huawei Marine) to build the planned East Micronesia Cable (EMC). According to Reuters – which cites two anonymous sources with direct knowledge of the project – Washington sent a diplomatic note to the Federated States of Micronesia voicing its objections. That correspondence followed an earlier warning to Micronesia and development agencies from the Nauru government about HMN’s participation in the project. The third island nation involved in the project, Kiribati, views HMN’s bid most favourably after last year severing diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of China, the sources said. As per the report, HMN’s bid is said to be 20% lower than the bids submitted by rival infrastructure firms.

A new submarine cable system connecting New Zealand’s southernmost city of Invercargill with Sydney and Melbourne in Australia is part of a new USD500 million project to build a hyperscale data centre called Datagrid. The initiative is being spearheaded by Hawaiki Cable founder Remi Galasso and Callplus founder Malcolm Dick. Mr Dick commented: ‘Until now, the lack of international connectivity into New Zealand has been a limiting factor for establishing data centres, but with the arrival of the Hawaiki Cable in 2018 that barrier can finally be lifted.’

Telxius has announced that it will provide landing and colocation services for Google’s new subsea cable, Grace Hopper. The cable will connect the US to Spain and the UK once completed in 2022. This new expanded collaboration between Telxius and Google will allow Google to connect the new cable to the Telxius Cable Landing Station in Sopelana, Spain, and leverage the transmission capabilities of the nearby Derio Communications Hub. Created by Telefonica in 2016, Telxius expects to operate 100,000km of submarine cable globally by 2021.

The planned Maldives Sri Lanka Cable (MSC) landed in the Maldives this week, ahead of its 1Q21 launch. When ready for service (RFS) the cable will connect Hulhumale in the Maldives to Mt. Lavinia in Sri Lanka. The USD22 million cable spans a reported 863km and has been bankrolled by Dhiraagu, Ooredoo Maldives and Dialog Axiata who seek to enhance the telecommunication infrastructure of the region.

The EllaLink submarine cable has been anchored in Praia do Futuro, Fortaleza (Brazil) ahead of its 2Q21 launch. As currently planned, the 6,200km cable will allow 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 Kourou (French Guiana), the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira and Praia on the African island nation of Cape Verde.

Windstream Wholesale has announced the completion of its diverse, high-capacity fibre route from Salt Lake City to Portland and Seattle. This expansion will provide access from the Pacific Northwest to the rest of Windstream’s nationwide network. In addition, the route from Portland to Seattle sets the foundation for Windstream Wholesale’s expansion to the Hillsboro, Oregon landing station, which expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. Hillsboro is home to numerous high-tech companies in what has become known as the ‘Silicon Forest’. Windstream says that it is also lighting a diverse route connecting Portland to the Bay Area in the first quarter of 2021.

Finally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched a proceeding to determine whether to end China Telecom (Americas) Corporation’s authority to provide domestic interstate and international telecoms services within the US under section 214 of the Communications Act. The watchdog notes: ‘The protection of national security is an integral part of the Commission’s responsibility to advance the public interest, and today’s action seeks to safeguard the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure from potential security threats.’

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Australia, Brazil, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Maldives, Nauru, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, United States, China Telecom Americas (incl. CTExcel), Ellalink, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), HMN Tech (formerly Huawei Marine), Telxius, Windstream Communications