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

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9 Jul 2021

Chile’s Desarrollo Pais (previously Fondo de Infraestructura) has commenced the search for strategic partners for the planned Humboldt submarine cable aiming to connect Valparaiso (Chile) to Auckland (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia), Diario Financiero writes. Patricio Rey, General Manager of Desarrollo Pais, said that the state company ‘will finalise the invitation to participate to the main operators of the industry in the coming weeks’, mainly targeting international/local firms with experience in the development of submarine infrastructure. The initial design of the 14,810km Humboldt cable includes between four and eight fibre-optic pairs, with a transmission capacity of 10Tbps-20Tbps. Desarrollo Pais expects to announce the potential partners by the end of the year, with projections to complete the rollout by early 2025. The planned system will be owned and operated by a special purpose vehicle (SPV), expected to be 25%-owned by Desarrollo Pais. The total investment of the initiative currently ranges between USD380 million and USD450 million, though the final sum could be adjusted once the SPV is created.

Telefonica Larga Distancia de Puerto Rico (TLDI) has submitted a cable modification request to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), following TLDI’s decisions to terminate its participation in the Columbus II system, effective 8 August 2020. As a consequence of its withdrawal, TLDI’s voting and ownership interest of 6.52626% in Columbus II was reallocated to other consortium members, and these remaining consortium members retain collective control of the licence as follows: Administration Nacional de Telecomunicacions (stake presumed to have been acquired by Altice Dominicana, 0.05415%); Administracion Nacional de Telecomunicacions Public Administration (0.13917%); AT&T (76.45657%); Atlantic Teleconnection Operating Company (0.92782%); Cable & Wireless (Barbados, 0.46391%); Cable & Wireless (BVI, 1.47121%); Compania Dominicana de Telefonos (4.77829%); Empresa Nacional De Telecomunicaciones (1.11339%); Global Crossing Americas Solutions (0.05415%); Global Interlink (1.61704%); Empresa Guatemalteca de Telecomunicaciones (0.05415%); PREPA.Net International Wholesale Transport (stake presumed to have been acquired by HUB Advanced Networks, 0.74226%); Rostelecom( (0.13917%); and Servicio di Telecomunicacion di Aruba (SETAR, 11.98871%).

Seaborn Networks has selected Infinera’s ICE6 800G coherent technology for its subsea network. Once deployed, Infinera’s ICE6-powered solution will provide Seaborn with an architecture that can deliver 400GbE services, including the option for direct PoP-to-PoP transport. The Smart Spectrum feature within Infinera’s Intelligent Power Management (IPM) solution will allow Seaborn to offer multiple virtual fibre pairs to its customers so they can take advantage of open cable demarcation, while being protected from potential optical power instability. Paul Cannon, Vice President of Network Development at Seaborn, said: ‘With Infinera’s solutions, Seaborn can offer a fully integrated spectrum solution across our subsea networks, which is fundamental to delivering sustainable capacity solutions to our customers while also enabling our larger customers to benefit from end-to-end spectrum capabilities with the freedom to select hardware and platforms in their existing high-capacity PoP locations. Once Infinera’s ICE6 technology is deployed on our network this summer, Seaborn will be positioned to deliver industry-leading 400GbE PoP-to-PoP services at distances over 10,000km.’ Seaborn currently operates two high-capacity open cable systems: Seabras-1 linking Brazil to the US and AMX-1 between Jacksonville (Florida) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

Singapore-based HyalRoute Group has invested an initial USD500 million to complete a portion of the Philippines’ 60,000km internet backbone project, The Inquirer writes citing Hendrick Huang, executive deputy managing director of the Philippines Fiber Optic Cable Network (PFOCN). As part of the investment, the company expects to deploy around 16,000km of fibre by the end of this year. The PFOCN inked an agreement with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for the rollout of the national backbone network in 2019, with plans to complete the deployment in various phases by 2028. The company is aiming to finalise at least half of the project by 2024, despite delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Liquid Intelligent Technologies (LIT) and Facebook have announced a partnership to build a 2,000km long-haul and metro fibre network in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), thus improving internet access for more than 30 million people and help meet growing demand for regional connectivity across Central Africa. Under the agreement, Facebook will invest in the fibre build and support network planning, while Liquid Technologies will own, build and operate the fibre network, while also providing wholesale services to mobile network operators and ISPs. The network will create a digital corridor from the Atlantic Ocean to East Africa via the Congo Rainforest and onto the Indian Ocean. Liquid Technologies has been working on the digital corridor – which will connect DRC to its neighbouring countries including Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia – for over two years. The new build will stretch from Central DRC to the Eastern border with Rwanda and extend the reach of 2Africa, which will interconnect Europe (via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia), and 16 countries in Africa (via 21 landings) when it is completed in 2023.

Lastly, Filipino ISP Converge ICT Solutions is gearing up to double its data transmission capacity for its metro backbone, from 400Gbps to 800Gbps. The firm has allocated PHP20 billion (USD399.6 million) in 2021 for capital expenditures, network expansion, expenses for its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) ports rollout to reach 35% of Philippine households and costs for the construction of domestic subsea cables.

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