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

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10 Sep 2021

Telxius has announced that Google’s Grace Hopper submarine cable has arrived at the Telxius Cable Landing Station (CLS) in Sopelana, located near Bilbao (Spain). From there, the new system will be connected to infrastructure offered by the Derio Communications Hub. Grace Hopper will consist of a main trunk from Lumen’s existing landing station in New York (US) to its landing facility in Bude (UK), and a branch connecting a single branching unit on the main trunk to the existing landing facility in Bilbao. The main trunk will have a total length of 6,354km and will consist of 16 fibre pairs, while the Spain Branch will stretch 837km featuring 16 fibre pairs. Each fibre pair will have a total design capacity of approximately 22Tbps (for a total design capacity of approximately 352Tbps). Subject to authorisation, Google plans to commence commercial operations over the system in 2022. Monica Martinez, Marketing Director at Telxius, commented: ‘We are delighted to provide connection and placement services to Grace Hopper as part of the ongoing collaboration between Google and Telxius. Grace Hopper thus gains access to the advanced interconnection and transmission capabilities of Telxius’ Derio Communications Hub, with backhaul connections to Paris and Madrid. This means new opportunities for companies connected to the main international traffic hubs in Europe and beyond.’

Bulk Fiber Networks has embarked on the installation of the Havsil submarine cable between Kristiansand in Norway and Hanstholm in Denmark. The new cable system will cross Skagerrak, the strait separating Norway and Denmark, with 192 fibres fully buried on the seabed. In early January 2021 Fugro’s vessel Fugro Meridian completed the cable marine survey, finalising the optimal marine route. NSW, part of Prysmian Group, manufactured the 120km fibre-optic cable in its Nordenham factory. The final supply contract was awarded to Cecon Contracting, which is deploying the system, with the ten-day installation process commencing on 5 September.

The second stage of the marine survey for the IRIS submarine cable system aiming to connect Iceland and Ireland has now been completed, with the Ridley Thomas vessel surveying the route from the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to Iceland’s landing site for twelve weeks. Manufacturing of the cable and equipment has commenced at SubCom’s manufacturing headquarters in Newington (New Hampshire, US), with the main cable installation operations scheduled for the summer of 2022, while testing of the system is currently slated for the autumn of 2022. Expected to enter commercial services by the end of 2022, the IRIS system is designed as a six-fibre pair trunk with a total system capacity of 108Tbps, with each fibre pair delivering 18Tbps. IRIS will be approximately 1,750km in length and will connect Thorlakshofn in Iceland to Ballyloughane Strand in Galway, Ireland. State-owned international connectivity provider Farice currently owns and operates the FARICE-1 and DANICE systems.

Crosslake Fibre is leveraging Ciena’s coherent optical technology and advanced analytics applications to build a new seamless submarine cable and terrestrial GeoMesh Extreme network between the data hubs of Slough (UK) and Paris (France). Crosslake is deploying Ciena’s 6500 packet-optical platform powered by WaveLogic 5 Extreme, in addition to using Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) with Liquid Spectrum’s Channel Margin Gauge app to allocate and scale capacity in real time, from 600Gbps to 800Gbps. The 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.

euNetworks has completed a strategic investment of fibre-based internet infrastructure linking London (UK) and Amsterdam (the Netherlands). euNetworks’ second Super Highway links Lowestoft with Ijmuiden via the Scylla submarine cable system, with onward connectivity provided to Amsterdam. The 211km Scylla system is a non-hybrid 96 pair double-armoured sea cable, solely using Corning’s SMF28 ULL (ultra-low loss) G654.C pure silica fibre. Brady Rafuse, CEO of euNetworks, said: ‘This Super Highway is an important investment in Western European bandwidth infrastructure. We’ve delivered the first new subsea cable on this important route in 20 years and delivered a unique route running between London and Amsterdam to support the many businesses whose connectivity requirements continue to grow.’

Filipino-based DITO Telecommunity has earmarked PHP4 billion (USD80.2 million) for expansion of its submarine fibre-optic network, The Manila Standard writes. DITO CTO Rodolfo Santiago said that the first phase of the submarine cable project linking Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao entered commercial services in March 2021, with around 953km of fibre deployed to date. Constructions works on Phase 2 of the submarine cable – linking Palawan to the rest of the Philippine islands and providing redundancy to the Visayas and Mindanao loop – will start in October/November; the link is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2022.

The Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1) submarine fibre-optic cable has experienced a fault on the S1H section on 4 September, affecting internet connection from Vietnam to Singapore. Currently, the cause of the problem has not been determined and there is no information about specific repair plans. The 25,000km network – owned by a consortium of 19 global service providers – connects Asia, the Middle East, East Africa and Europe. AAE-1 is described as ‘the longest 100Gbps technology-based submarine system’ and offers design capacity of over 40Tbps.

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Denmark, France, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Vietnam, Ciena Corporation, Crosslake Fibre, DITO Telecommunity Corp (formerly Mislatel), euNetworks, Farice, Google (Alphabet), Lumen Technologies (formerly CenturyLink), Prysmian Group, SubCom, Telxius