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

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1 Apr 2021

Facebook and Google have announced a new submarine cable, dubbed Echo, aiming to connect Singapore, Indonesia and North America. The Echo cable will run from Eureka, California (US) to Changi North in Singapore and will feature two additional branches to Agat and Piti (Guam), with plans to also land in Tanjung Pakis in Indonesia. Echo will provide 12Tbps of capacity per fibre pair, with the 16,206km main trunk comprising twelve fibre pairs. The two 372km branches to Guam (BU1 and BU2) will each feature twelve fibre pairs, while the 234km branching unit to Indonesia (BU3) will consist of four fibre pairs. The system is being developed in partnership with XL Axiata; it is due to be completed in Q3 2023.

Facebook, Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation and Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin) are planning to deploy a new system called Bifrost. Spanning over 15,000km, the cable will link Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Guam and the west coast of North America. The Bifrost system is expected to be ready for service (RFS) in 2024. Keppel disclosed that its share of the total project cost as a joint partner will be approximately USD350 million. The three parties have appointed Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) to supply and install the cable system.

The Djibouti Africa Regional Express 1 (DARE1) submarine cable linking Djibouti (Djibouti), Bosaso (Somalia), Mogadishu (Somalia) and Mombasa (Kenya) has entered commercial operations. The USD80 million system – owned by Djibouti Telecom, Somtel, Hormuud Telecom and Telkom Kenya – was deployed by SubCom. The 4,854km cable – which includes 41 dual-stage repeaters to maximise its capacity – is configured as a three-fibre pair trunk and each trunk fibre pair has cross sectional capacity of 40 channels at 300Gbps; in addition to the dual-stage repeaters included on all branches of the system, the Bosaso and Mogadishu segments are equipped with a switched ROADM, to provide flexible capacity routing and a robust fault protection scheme for the system. The system provides 36Tbps of capacity.

PLDT has revealed that the branch linking the Philippines to the JUPITER cable system is expected to be completed by December this year. In its annual report, the company disclosed: ‘PLDT continues to work with major Asian carriers and OTT (over-the-top) players for the implementation of the new JUPITER cable system to support the expected new fixed and mobile services requirements … JUPITER, the completion of which has been impacted by COVID-19-related restrictions, is expected to be completed and ready for service by December 2021.’ The JUPITER submarine cable system links Maruyama and Shima in Japan with Los Angeles in the US (RFS in 2020), with a branch to Daet in the Philippines. The 14,000km JUPITER network delivers capacity of more than 60Tbps utilising ROADM which employs wavelength selective switch (WSS) technology, providing a greater diversity of connections and enhanced reliability for customers as well as optimised connectivity to data centres on the West Coast of the US.

Iceland’s Ministry of Transport and Local Government has revealed that EUR50 million (USD58.6 million) in funding for the IRIS submarine cable has been secured via a Farice capital increase, with SubCom selected to deploy the system. The 1,607km IRIS is scheduled to run from Molvik in Iceland to Galway (Ireland) and is expected to enter commercial operations in October 2022. Farice is a wholly state-owned submarine cable operator, currently operating the FARICE-1 and DANICE systems.

GTT Communications and its affiliated companies Hibernia Express Ireland and Hibernia Atlantic Cable System are seeking injunctions to stop fishermen trawling near two of its submarine cables off the coast of Ireland, The Irish Times writes. GTT says that the cables at risk are the GTT Atlantic, which runs between Dublin (Ireland) and Halifax (Canada), and GTT Express system linking between Brean (UK), Cork (Ireland) and Halifax. A GTT representative said that repairs on the cables can range from EUR600,000 to EUR1.4 million per repair.

Colt Technology Services has successfully trialled the provision of 600G connectivity in partnership with Ciena, thus claiming to be the ‘first and only provider with a capability to transport 600G wavelengths in a long-haul live network in Japan’. This announcement follows the successful completion of a customer-facing 400G Wave live network trial in December 2020. The live network trial was conducted between two Colt data centres and was made possible with Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optics, delivering scalability, intelligence and programmability into Colt’s IQ Network. In addition, VIAVI Solutions’ ONA-1000A and MTS-6000A OSA-610 were used in the trial for testing combinations of 400G and 100G Ethernet client end-to-end bit error free traffic, and line side optical spectrum health analysis, respectively.

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