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

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7 May 2021

Fugro has completed the first phase of its marine site characterisation project for Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) to support the Bifrost system, a new submarine fibre-optic cable aiming to link the west coast of North America, Guam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore. The transpacific route segments off the west coast of North America have now been surveyed and the project will soon continue on the Indonesia segment through the Celebes and Java seas. The new 15,000km cable will be owned and operated by Facebook, Keppel and Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), with ASN appointed to supply and install the cable system in late 2020. Work on the project began in November 2020 with a desk study to support permitting activities, followed by an ongoing geophysical and geotechnical campaign that will conclude in Singapore. The Bifrost system is expected to be ready for service (RFS) in 2024.

Xtera has revealed that the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract for the GigNet-1 submarine system between Florida (US) and Cancun (Mexico) is now in force. The GigNet-1 cable project was initially developed by FB Submarine Partners, though in March 2021 GigNet entered into a Letter of Intent (LoI) to acquire the development, assets and operations of the submarine cable. Xtera will provide the submarine wetplant consisting of fibre and amplifiers (repeaters) and the submarine line terminals in Florida and Cancun, and will manage the installation. In cooperation with Xtera, IT International Telecom will perform the marine installation. The new system is expected to be completed in 2022.

Angola Cables has upgraded its Monet submarine cable network using Ciena’s GeoMesh, powered by WaveLogic Ai coherent optical technology, in order to provide more capacity and lower latency. Angola Cables currently operates a network connecting North America, South America, Africa and Europe via the Monet, South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) and West Africa Cable System (WACS) systems. With Ciena’s GeoMesh, Angola Cables added 2.2Tbps of capacity to segments in the Monet network connecting Miami (US), Fortaleza and Sao Paulo (Brazil) to enhance the performance of bandwidth-intensive cloud-based services. This direct, low-latency connection between Sao Paulo, Miami, and the new data centre in Fortaleza (AngoNAP) boosts regional development for companies leveraging the network. Angola Cables is also leveraging Ciena’s GeoMesh between Sao Paulo and Miami to optically bypass the cable landing stations, resulting in reduced power, space and operational complexity. Additionally, Angola Cables is operating with Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller, which extracts real-time telemetry from the submarine cables to provide enhanced network visibility and monitoring.

Wholesale telecommunications company GlobeNet has selected Equinix’s SP2 and SP4 data centres in Sao Paulo to provide additional PoPs in Brazil for the Malbec submarine cable system between Brazil and Argentina. The 2,500km Malbec submarine fibre-optic system – co-owned by GlobeNet and Facebook, with GlobeNet in charge of its operation – connects GlobeNet’s cable landing station in Rio de Janeiro with the Argentine capital, via a landing point in Las Toninas, to the southeast of Buenos Aires. Malbec has redundant backhauls in Las Toninas (Buenos Aires) and Praia Grande (Brazil), as well as PoPs in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. In Brazil, Malbec includes an underwater route between the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, both with direct connections to Fortaleza in Brazil’s northeast. Malbec also complements the existing 23,500km GlobeNet fibre-optic cable system linking Brazil with Venezuela, Colombia, Bermuda and the US.

Infinera has announced the availability of metro-optimised 400G pluggable optics-based solutions for the XTM Series and GX Series Compact Modular Platforms, bringing enhanced flexibility and economics to metro networks. The new capabilities complement the company’s 600G/800G embedded optics technology. Glenn Laxdal, Senior Vice President, Global Product Line Management at Infinera, said: ’Pluggable optics have always been at the heart of our metro strategy, and over the years we have achieved many industry firsts with the use of pluggable optics in transport platforms … Expanding our capabilities to include the latest generation of 400G optics, combined with our industry-leading 600G/800G optics, provides customers with best-in-class solutions to address applications across their networks.’

Aqua Comms has announced an eight-fibre pair deal on its CC-1 cable, concluded with an unnamed major private network operator, augmenting the capacity it already owns and uses across the system. Certified RFS in 2012, CC-1 is a 131km long cable system with 72 fibre pairs between Ireland and the UK. The CC-1 system connects into the Welsh Government Fibre speed network across North Wales to tie into major UK backhaul providers at Deeside, Manchester and Stoke.

Greenlandic firm TELE-POST is plannning to carry out feasibility studies for the potential expansion of its submarine cable network along the west coast of Greenland. The work is slated to start in the spring of 2021, with a tentative completion date of October 2021. The operator has earmarked DKK1 billion (USD162 million) for infrastructure investments over the next four years.

PT Telkom Indonesia has revealed that internet services in Jayapura, the capital of Indonesia’s Papua Province, were disrupted due to the disconnection of the Sulawesi Maluku Papua Cable System at the Biak-Sarmi line. The company said that it is working to restore services to the area.

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Brazil, Greenland, Guam, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, United Kingdom, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Angola Cables, Aqua Communications (AquaComms), Ciena Corporation, Facebook, GlobeNet Cabos Submarinos, Infinera, TELE Greenland, Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Telkom Indonesia, Xtera