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

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16 Jul 2021

Maltese operator GO has announced an investment of EUR25 million (USD29 million) in a third submarine cable, which has been named as LaValette. The execution of the project was entrusted to PCCW Global, with Tamer El Gazzar, Sales Director Middle East and Africa at PCCW, cited as saying: ‘Together with GO, we implemented a state-of-the-art technology deploying the highest capacity per fibre pair. The LaValette system follows the shortest and fastest direct route from Malta to France, and from Malta to Africa and East Mediterranean, thus giving Malta a whole new connectivity to Europe and the Middle East. The system will also give Malta open access to data centres in France, Egypt, Djibouti and Kenya.’ The newly announced system forms part of the global Pakistan East Africa Connecting Europe Cable (PEACE Cable) project. Phase 1 of the PEACE project (spanning 12,000km) will link France to Pakistan through a single landing point in the city of Marseille (France) using the Europe-Asia route, and to the city of Mombasa (Kenya) via a short route towards the Indian Ocean that will be expanded to South Africa via the PEACE South extension under Phase 2, reaching a total length of 15,000km. The system is slated to enter operations in Q4 2021.

Orange Marine’s vessel Rene Descartes is understood to be laying the Topaz cable system in Canadian waters, with CEO Didier Dillard cited by Radio Canada as saying: ‘The Rene Descartes stopped in Vancouver because we are responsible for laying a trans-Pacific cable, over 7,000km long, which will soon link Japan and Canada. This is quite exceptional, because if you look at the map of submarine cables that cross the Pacific, there are a lot of them but they almost all arrive in the United States and very few in Canada.’ The system – developed by Google – will consist of a main cable between Port Alberni (Vancouver Island, British Columbia) and the Japanese cities of Shima (Mie Prefecture) to the south and Takahagi (Ibaraki Prefecture) to the north. In addition, a second cable for future development will extend from Port Alberni and terminate at the headlands of Barkley Sound (Vancouver Island, British Columbia). The Topaz submarine cable system will extend from an existing telecommunications facility near Canal Beach in Port Alberni and will follow Alberni Inlet to the ocean. In June 2021 Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada determined that the proposed Topaz submarine fibre-optic cable system is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. The cable is in development since March 2020.

Equinix and Crosslake Fibre have announced that the CrossChannel Fibre cable project will connect to Equinix data centres in London and Paris. The new system will be delivered by Crosslake Fibre to Equinix’s International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres –LD4 in London and PA7 in Paris, via landings in Brighton (UK) and Veules-les-Roses (France). The 550km CrossChannel Fibre cable is a high-fibre-count, non-repeatered system and will contain 96 fibre pairs, each of which will provide over 20Tbps of throughput capacity; it is due to be ready for service in Q4 2021. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Pioneer Consulting completed the marine route survey for the system in November 2020.

The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) has announced the launch of Government Best Practices for Protecting and Promoting Resilience of Submarine Telecommunications Cables, in order to assist governments in developing laws, policies and practices to support the development and protection of submarine telecoms cables. The Best Practices set forth a set of general principles to guide governments in cable protection and resilience, including the promotion of speedy infrastructure deployment and repair; identify cable damage risks and other regulatory challenges; and make specific recommendations for governmental practices to reduce risk, promote connectivity and improve regulation.

Peru’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (Ministerio de Transportes y Comunicaciones, MTC) has announced the termination of the concession contract of Azteca Comunicaciones for the design, financing, deployment, operation and maintenance of the National Fibre Optic Backbone (Red Dorsal Nacional de Fibra Optica or RDNFO) project. The end of the concession will take effect on 13 January 2022, six months after publication of the decision in the El Peruano gazette. National telecommunications programme PRONATEL will assume the operation of the project on a provisional basis at the expiration of the contract (directly or via third parties and for a period not exceeding three years). The announcement comes after a series of unsuccessful attempts between the MTC and Azteca Comunicaciones to optimise the backbone network. According to the MTC, only 3.2% of the installed capacity on the network was being used, while generated income covered just 7.7% of its costs. The USD333 million RDNFO project involves the installation, operation and maintenance of around 13,500km of fibre-optic cables connecting 22 regional capitals and 180 provincial capitals in Peru.

Lastly, US-based all-fibre B2B player Lightpath (formerly Altice Business) has deployed Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Extreme solution, delivering services of up to 800Gbps. With this deployment, Lightpath is able to provide improved digital experience for its customers throughout the greater New York City metropolitan area and expand its footprint into the greater Boston market.

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