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

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18 Jun 2021

The Malbec submarine cable system between Brazil and Argentina has now entered commercial operations. 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.

Vodafone and Cabildo de Tenerife (via Canalink) will connect the Canary Islands and the Iberian Peninsula with a new extension of the 2Africa submarine cable, CincoDias writes. According to unnamed sources familiar with the matter, the investment in the new infrastructure will amount to USD12 million. Vodafone and Cabildo de Tenerife will have a 50% stake each in the Canary Islands section of the new system, which will be built by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN). Once certified ready for service (RFS) in late 2023, it will provide a seamless optical route between Telde in the Canary Islands and Continental Europe. The 37,000km 2Africa submarine cable will interconnect Europe (via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia), and 16 countries in Africa (via 21 landings), and is expected to go live in 2023/2024, delivering a design capacity of up to 180Tbps on key parts of the system. The 2Africa consortium – comprising China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) – had appointed ASN to build the cable in a fully funded project; the 2Africa cable will feature ASN’s SDM1 technology, allowing deployment of up to 16 fibre pairs.

Telecommunications Management Group (TMG) and WFN Strategies (WFN) have been selected by the Fondo de Infraestructura of Chile to assist in identifying a strategic partner for the planned Humboldt submarine cable system aiming to link Valparaiso (Chile) to Auckland (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia). The initial design of the 13,000km cable includes between four and eight fibre-optic pairs, with a transmission capacity of 10Tbps-20Tbps.

Sparkle has announced the expansion of the Nibble network to northern Europe during a meeting held at the Sicily Hub in Palermo between Sparkle CEO Elisabetta Romano and Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs Manlio Di Stefano. Nibble is built on a 6,500km photonic backbone and connects Sparkle’s two major submarine landing stations in Sicily (Palermo and Catania) with Milan (Italy), Marseille (France), Frankfurt (Germany) and Paris (France) to the west and with Athens (Greece), Istanbul (Turkey) and Tel Aviv (Israel) to the east. By July 2021, Nibble will extend by a further 6,300km to northern Europe, interconnecting London (the UK), Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Brussels (Belgium), thus reaching a total length of 12,800km.

HMN Technologies has revealed a 18kV Power Feeding Solution, which will provide an increase in system capacity by substantially increasing the fibre pairs in long-haul transoceanic systems. A 20% improvement of power output translates into over 50% increase in system capacity – 18kV can support a 16 fibre-pair trans-Pacific system resulting in a 300Tbps capacity increase. Likewise, 18kV can support a 6,000km trans-Atlantic system of 32 fibre pairs providing system transmission capacity of 700Tbps. In 2021 HMN Technologies will complete what it claims is ‘another industry-first’ via the deployment of a 16 fibre-pair repeatered submarine cable system connecting Hainan Island to Hong Kong.

Orange Marine has named its under-construction cable repair vessel Sophie Germain. The new ship will replace the Raymond Croze ship, which carried out more than one hundred cable repairs mostly in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Red Sea. The new environmentally-friendly cable repair vessel was first announced in December 2020.

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