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

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5 Feb 2021

SubCom and Google have announced that the deployment and testing of the Dunant submarine cable system linking Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez in France and Virginia Beach (US) has been completed and the system is now ready for service (RFS). The 6,600km Dunant system is a long-haul submarine cable featuring a twelve fibre pair space-division multiplexing (SDM) design with capacity of 250Tbps. Google developed the system in cooperation with Orange; as the French landing partner, Orange operates the landing station on the French Atlantic coast and provides a backhaul service to Paris. The Dunant system – first announced back in 2018 – is Google’s second privately-owned submarine network, following the launch of the Curie cable between Los Angeles (US) and Valparaiso in Chile (RFS: Q2 2020).

PNG DataCo has revealed that deployment works on the Kumul Submarine Cable System (KSCN) will be completed in the third quarter of 2021, The Post Courier writes. The project, part-funded by the Chinese Exim Bank (which provided 85% preferential buyers credit to the PNG government), is being rolled out by Huawei to interlink with the Coral Sea Cable System (CSCS). The domestic network is aiming to connect 15 coastal provincial capitals, running between Port Moresby, Alotau, Popondetta, Lae and Madang. The Kumul system consists of three sections; System 1 connects Jayapura to Arawa with seven branching units to Vanimo, Wewak, Lorengau, Madang, Kimbe, Kavieng and Kokopo; System 2 spans 1,874km and connects Madang to Port Moresby with three branching units to Lae, Popondetta and Alotau; and System 3 connects Daru and Kerema to the existing branching units in the 200km PNG LNG system. PNG DataCo managing director Paul Komboi told the local news source: ‘The only outstanding work we have with KSCN is the Jayapura leg, which was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic but we expect to complete work by third quarter of this year.’ The executive added that the cable has been laid but they are yet to put in the electronics to start PNG’s communication with Indonesia.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved an application filed by AT&T Corporation (AT&T) for a new cable landing licence for the Taino-Carib cable system (linking Puerto Rico with the US Virgin Islands) for an additional 25-year period. The 186km Taino-Carib system, which was certified RFS in December 1992, has landing points in Condado Beach and Isla Verde (Puerto Rico, US) and Magen’s Bay (US Virgin Islands). Following recently approved amendments (MCI International being removed from the ownership chain due to an internal restructuring of Verizon subsidiaries and Telefonica Larga Distancia De Puerto Rico withdrawing from the Taino-Carib consortium), the current ownership in the cable is listed as follows: Antelecom (3.86%), AT&T (56.95%), C&W Barbados (0.82%), C&W BVI (14.17%), Compania Anonima Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela (0.26%), Claro (0.15%), Compania Dominicana de Telefonos (2.42%), Global Interlink (1.02%), MCI International LLC (10.08%), Prepa Networks (Hub Advanced Networks since October 2020, 1.71%), Servicio Di Telecomunicacion Di Aruba (1.33%), Sprint (6.28%), Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (0.91%) and Verizon Hawaii (0.04%). Further, AT&T highlighted that all traffic on the cable originating and terminating at Isla Verde (Puerto Rico) continues to originate and terminate at the current landing station (but passes through a new landing station), with the exception of traffic on one fibre pair added to the cable as the result of a 2018 upgrade which originates and terminates at the new landing station. At a later time, all traffic originating and terminating at Isla Verde will originate and terminate at the new landing station.

The FCC has been notified of the pro forma assignment of the cable landing licence for the ACS Alaska-Oregon Network (AKORN) system, which connects Alaska and Oregon (US), from ACS Long Distance Inc to ACS Long Distance LLC, effective 1 January 2013. ACS Cable LLC claims that it previously sent notice of this pro forma transaction to the FCC within the 30-day period, but ‘that filing was evidently lost and does not appear in the FCC records today’. ACS Cable LLC has therefore updated the original notice and is refiling the application to ensure that the FCC records are accurate and complete with respect to the transaction. The 3,000km AKORN system was certified RFS in April 2009 and has landing stations in Anchorage, Homer and Nikiski (Alaska) and Florence (Oregon).

China’s HMN Tech – in partnership with the Special Communications Organization (SCO) – is planning to commence the rollout of the final stretch of a cross-border fibre-optic cable in Pakistan that will create the Digital Silk Road, Nikkei Asia writes. The project – involving the deployment of a fibre-optic cable between Rawalpindi and the port cities of Karachi and Gwadar – was approved by the government on 21 January. The 850km northern section of the system – Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in southwest China to Rawalpindi – has been operational since 2018. The new terrestrial infrastructure will connect to the in-development PEACE Cable in the Arabian Sea to service countries participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Europe. The laying of the submarine cable in Pakistan’s territorial waters will begin in March 2021; local ISP Cybernet secured the government’s approval to construct a landing station in Karachi earlier this month. Phase 1 of the PEACE project (spanning 12,000km) will link France to Pakistan through a single landing point in the city of Marseille (France) using the Europe-Asia route, and to the city of Mombasa (Kenya) via a short route towards the Indian Ocean that will be expanded to South Africa via the PEACE South extension under Phase 2, reaching a total length of 15,000km. The system will deploy 200G WDM technology interfacing with HMN’s Spatial Division Multiplexing (SDM) repeater, which provides capabilities to transmit 16Tbps per fibre pair. The cable – expected to be RFS in Q4 2021 – will be deployed by HMN Tech; a contract for the cable manufacturing had been awarded to HENGTONG Marine.

Lastly, Hexatronic Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hexatronic Group, has signed a strategic supply agreement with Australian telco Vocus, to supply it with fibre-optic cables for two years. The high count cables will be used by Vocus to expand its fibre-optic network in Australia.

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