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

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10 Dec 2021

Crosslake Fibre has announced that its CrossChannel submarine cable is now ready for service (RFS). CrossChannel is a next generation, high-capacity, 96 fibre pair system that is capable of supporting over 2,400Tbps of capacity. The 550km system has a 149km submarine segment and is designed to be physically diverse of existing fibre infrastructure. CrossChannel directly connects Equinix LD4 in Slough (UK), to Interxion PAR3 and Equinix PA7 in Paris (France) with extensions to various PoPs in both cities. Crosslake is providing a Dark Fibre service and also deploying Ciena’s 6500 packet-optical platform powered by WaveLogic 5 Extreme. Additionally, Crosslake is 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. Crosslake Fibre also operates the Lake Ontario cable system, which entered services in late 2019 to provide connectivity between Toronto (Canada) and New York (US).

Rostelecom has entered into a legally binding parity agreement with VEB Ventures to acquire a stake in Atlas and develop a new generation fibre-optic backbone aiming to link the western and eastern borders of the Russian Federation, dubbed Transit Europe-Asia NEXT (TEA NEXT). The project will see Rostelecom and VEB Ventures each invest around RUB6 billion (USD81 million) in Rostelecom’s newly founded company Atlas at the initial stage. The TEA NEXT project, first announced in June 2020, is developed by Atlas and is aiming to link Kaliningrad with Sakhalin, with branches to the main cities of the Russian Federation along the route, namely: St. Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude, Chita, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok. The network will also be extended from the country borders with Europe to the main European traffic exchange centres in Frankfurt (Germany) and Stockholm (Sweden), and will link Vladivostok to Busan (South Korea), Tokyo (Japan) and Hong Kong via submarine links. The terrestrial network, estimated to cost USD500 million, will comprise 96 dark fibre cores (48 fibre pairs) and is expected to go live in 2024.

Cabo Verde Telecom (CVT) and Angola Cables have signed a joint cooperation agreement to identify synergies to expand connectivity and network capabilities. The South Atlantic Cable System (SACS), West Africa Cable System (WACS), Monet and EllaLink submarine cables will be part of the strategic plan to offer multiple connectivity and redundancy routing options for ISPs, enterprises and content providers looking to route internet traffic between Africa, Europe and the Americas on these express routes. Angola Cables CEO Angelo Gama said: ‘This is a first step in a broader strategic collaboration between Angola Cables and CVT. The agreement will pave the way for improving telecommunications infrastructure and services in the region and will ultimately make a positive contribution towards improving digital transformation on the African continent.’

The TAT-14 cable – spanning 15,000km and linking Germany (Norden), the UK (Widemouth), Denmark (Blaabjerg), France (Saint-Valery-en-Caux) and the Netherlands (Katwijk) to the United States (Manasquan and Tuckerton, New Jersey) – has now been retired. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Subsea Environmental Services and Red Penguin Associates were awarded the contract to decommission the TAT-14 cable system in April 2021. The Project Scope included removal and recycling of shore-ends in the US, UK, France, Denmark and the Netherlands as well as the deep-water segments in the North Atlantic. The Planning Phase of the Project was underway for almost a year (beginning with a comprehensive desktop decommissioning study), while the Operations Phase commenced in April with the planned recovery of shore-ends in Denmark and the Netherlands.

The fault on the Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) submarine cable route has now been repaired. The 10,400km APG cable experienced a problem on the S3 segment on 29 October, causing a loss of connection from Vietnam to Japan and the US.

Equinix has announced that it is acquiring West African data centre and connectivity solutions provider MainOne for USD320 million. The acquisition is expected to close in Q1 2022, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions including the requisite regulatory approvals. Equinix highlighted that acquiring MainOne is the first step of its long-term strategy to become an African carrier neutral digital infrastructure company. In a statement, the company said: ‘With more than 200 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and, along with Ghana, has become an established data centre hub. This makes the acquisition a pivotal entry point for Equinix into the continent.’ The new deal follows on from a number of similar takeovers, with Equinix completing the acquisition of 13 data centres from Bell Canada for USD780 million in October 2020 and expanding to India through the acquisition of GPX India for USD161 million (completed in September 2021).

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Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Angola Cables, Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE), Cabo Verde Telecom (CVT, incl. CV Multimedia), Ciena Corporation, Crosslake Fibre, Equinix, MainOne Cable, Rostelecom