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

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24 Sep 2021

The Southern Cross NEXT submarine cable – developed by Spark and Southern Cross Cables and aiming to link Australia to the US – has landed in Tokelau. The 13,700km Southern Cross NEXT cable will provide 72Tbps of total design capacity between Sydney (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand) and the US, with additional connections to Fiji, Samoa, Tokelau and Kiribati. The cable features Alcatel Submarine Networks’ (ASN’s) WSS ROADM units and the latest generation of submarine repeaters and is designed to be adaptable to future technology developments. The system is expected to be completed in April 2022. Southern Cross CEO Laurie Miller said the new system will also expand the company’s network ecosystem and provide more solutions for customers: ‘The completion of NEXT will interconnect New Zealand to the world via an ecosystem of twelve cable stations and eight key data centre hubs in Australia and the US, spanning six countries and eight time zones all interconnected by over 45,000km of cable.’

FSM Telecommunications Corporation (FSMTC) of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) has announced that Xtera has completed an upgrade of the HANTRU-1 Submarine Cable between Pohnpei (FSM) and Guam. The upgrade provides new capacity using Xtera’s Nu-Wave Optima Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) with coherent technology. The increased system capacity provided on HANTRU-1 significantly reduces the cost per bit of the network whilst offering enhanced functionality.

The Bangladeshi government has initiated a move to award licences for submarine cables to the private sector with a view to attracting private investment to the telecoms industry, The Daily Star writes. Telecoms minister Mustafa Jabbar was cited as saying that the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has updated the Submarine Cable Licencing Guideline, with two concessions set to be issued initially. The licence acquisition fee will be BDT100 million (USD1.15 million), with an annual licence fee of BDT30 million; successful bidders will also have to share 3% of their gross revenue with the government.

Elsewhere, Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) has received board approval to change its name to Bangladesh Submarine Cables PLC (BSCPLC). The move is also subject to regulatory approval.

Mauritius Telecom (MT) and Liquid Telecom are reportedly planning to revive the IOX Cable System by spearheading a project to deploy a cable, called T3 Submarine Cable System, linking South Africa to Mauritius with an offshore connection to Reunion and Madagascar. The original IOX cable system was aiming to link South Africa with India, via landings in Mauritius, the autonomous outer island of Rodrigues and Reunion. As initially planned, the 8,850km cable – which was scheduled to be built by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) – would have a design capacity of 13Tbps per fibre pair and would deliver an ultimate design capacity of over 52Tbps.

Two errors on the S1H branch of the Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1) submarine cable are scheduled to be fixed by 14 November, a local ISP told VietNamNet. The AAE-1 submarine fibre-optic cable experienced two faults on the S1H section on 4 September and 7 September, affecting internet connection from Vietnam to Singapore. 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. This is the second time this year that the AAE-1 cable has encountered issues; the previous fault was reported on 25 May and was fixed on 12 July. Meanwhile, a fault on the S1B branch of the Asia America Gateway (AAG) submarine cable, which was experienced on 11 August 2021, is expected to be repaired on 26 September.

The government of Benin has signed a concessional loan agreement for CHY265 million (USD41 million) with China for the implementation of the Projet de Densification du Reseau Haut Debit (PDRHD). The PDRHD project includes the deployment of a fibre-optic network spanning 688.9km: 484.1km of backbone network in Mono, Zou, Collines and Nord Benin, and 204.8km of metropolitan fibre in ten cities. The new initiative follows the completion of the Projet de Developpement des Infrastructures des Telecommunications et des TIC (PDI2T) project, which saw around 2,000km of fibre-optic cabling rolled out in Benin.

Tanzania’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) to expand broadband connectivity across the country, reports Daily News. Under the agreement, state-owned Tanzania Telecommunication Corporation will utilise TANESCO’s electricity infrastructure to roll out fibre-optic broadband connectivity. At present, the country’s national fibre-optic network stretches 8,319km and connects 21 regional capitals, but the agreement is expected to increase the length of the infrastructure by 4,450km and connect the remaining ten regions.

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Bangladesh, Benin, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, South Africa, Tanzania, Tokelau, Vietnam, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL), Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), Federated States of Micronesia Telecoms Corp (FSMTC), Liquid Telecom Group, Mauritius Telecom (MT), Ministry of Communications and ICT, Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN), Spark, Xtera