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

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21 May 2021

IslaLink and Orange Group’s Italian subsidiary Elettra are planning to deploy a new submarine cable system, dubbed IONIAN, linking Crotone in Italy with Preveza (Greece). The submarine infrastructure will be complemented by two terrestrial fibre rings connecting the system to the cities of Milan and Rome in Italy and Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece. Esther Garces, CEO of IslaLink, said: ‘IONIAN leverages on our experience in the development of new subsea projects and in providing best-in-class services to our customers. We believe the Greek broadband market is bound for growth in the coming years, and firmly believe Athens will become a regional hub for cloud services. IslaLink wants to contribute to this growth by bringing a modern, state-of-the-art, high-capacity international system to the market that will service the needs of operators and content providers on an independent and neutral basis.’

Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) has revealed that it plans to construct two new submarine cables, with SubCom selected to deploy the systems. The India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) system will connect Mumbai and Chennai (India) to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, while the India-Europe-Xpress (IEX) cable will stretch from India to the Middle East and Europe (via a landing in Savona, Italy). The two cables will provide more than 200Tbps of capacity spanning over 16,000km. The cables will be owned by Jio and several unannounced parties. IAX is expected to be ready for service mid-2023, while IEX will be ready for service in early 2024.

GigNet (on behalf of FB Submarine Partners and IT International Telecom) has announced the completion of the marine survey for the 1,100km GigNet-1 submarine system between Florida (US) and Cancun (Mexico). The marine route survey included geotechnical, geophysical and shipwreck surveys, developing a route optimised for cable protection, avoidance of obstructions, and other factors. Paul Moore, CEO of GigNet, said: ‘The completion of the marine survey is a major project milestone and allows us to confirm a planned ready for service date in the fourth quarter of 2022.’ 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, with IT International Telecom tasked with performing the marine installation. Elsewhere, GigNet announced that it expects to complete its announced acquisition of the assets and operations of FB Submarine Partners in June 2021.

Brazilian officials have signed a partner agreement to participate in the deployment of the *Humboldt* submarine cable aiming to link Valparaiso (Chile) to Auckland (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia), Reuters writes. Chile’s foreign minister Andres Allamand was cited as saying that Brazil’s decision to formally join the initiative was critical to making the USD388 million project a reality: ‘The incorporation of Brazil to this project gives it a definitive economic viability, and at the same time a definitive political viability as well.’ The official added that Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia are also expected to join the initiative. The initial design of the 13,000km cable includes between four and eight fibre-optic pairs, with a transmission capacity of 10Tbps-20Tbps. 

The Agency for the Regulation and Control of Telecommunications (Agencia de Regulacion y Control de las Telecomunicaciones, ARCOTEL) has granted Titles of Registration for the provision of submarine cable services to Columbus Networks and Consorcio Ecuatoriano de Telecomunicaciones (CONECEL), via Resolutions ARCOTEL-2021-0570 and ARCOTEL-2021-0595 respectively. The new titles are valid for 20 years.

Lastly, Angola Telecom has announced the inauguration of a new 800km terrestrial cross-border fibre-optic link running from the capital city Luanda to the exclave of Cabinda province. According to a company press release, the new terrestrial fibre-optic route runs from Luanda to Noqui on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with onward connectivity across the DRC via Liquid Intelligent Technologies’ Matadi-Boma-Muanda-Yema route and Angola Telecom’s Yema-Cabinda network. Previously, Cabinda province was served via a connection to the ADONES submarine cable, and microwave links running from Soyo.

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