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

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17 Dec 2021

Claro Colombia, a subsidiary of America Movil, has activated a new extension of the America Movil Submarine Cable System-1 (AMX-1) to the island of San Andres in the Caribbean Sea, La Republica writes. The extension has a total length of 727km and cost USD15 million to deploy. The 17,800km AMX-1 landed in Cancun (Mexico) in December 2013 and was put into service shortly after. The USD500 million submarine cable was built by Alcatel-Lucent (now Alcatel Submarine Networks, or ASN) and is designed for 100G capacity. It links North and Central America to the southern tip of South America, with connection points in Miami and Jacksonville (US), Barranquilla and Cartagena (Colombia), Fortaleza, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), Cancun (Mexico), San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Puerto Barrios (Guatemala).

Converge ICT Solutions has submitted plans to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to invest around USD200 million in a completed submarine cable system with three fibre pairs, to boost internet capacity between the US and the Philippines, Business Mirror writes. Converge CEO and cofounder Dennis Anthony Uy did not name the cable in question, but suggested the system was among those that were stalled by the US-China trade war: ‘We’ve signed already, but it is still under FCC approval. We’re looking at an additional USD200 million investment next year – that’s only towards the US.’

Ooredoo Maldives has announced its entry into an agreement to invest in an extension of the PEACE Cable. The new international submarine cable will cover approximately 3,000km to the East (Singapore) and 6,000km to the West (Marseille, France) through a trunk route which will also connect more than 15 other countries. In Maldives, the PEACE submarine cable will land at Kulhudhufushi in order to create diversity in ISP traffic and to develop other areas besides the capital Male; the landing is slated for completion in early 2023.

A new submarine cable aiming to link the Pacific nations of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati and Nauru has received funding from Australia, Japan and the US. The new cable will connect Kosrae (FSM), Nauru and Tarawa (Kiribati) with the existing HANTRU-1 Submarine Cable landing at Pohnpei (FSM). Previous plans to deploy the 2,000km East Micronesia Cable (EMC) System linking the three nations to the HANTRU-1 Submarine Cable between Pohnpei and Guam – with funding from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) secured in April 2018 – fell through in December 2020, after the US government warned the three nations about the security threat posed by the cut-price bid by HMN Tech.

HyperOne, a new fibre transmission network operator established by Australian technology entrepreneur Bevan Slattery, has started construction works on Phase 1a of its private Australia-wide fibre-optic backbone. Phase 1a will see the deployment of a 2,300km diverse fibre loop connecting Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, which is expected to be finished by December 2022. HyperOne said it would source 7,600km of fibre for Phase 1 of the project from Australian-based manufacturer AFL Global. Bevan Slattery said: ‘The cable will have three layers of protection including a termite-protected sheath, rodent-protected inner sheath and a non-metallic armouring to provide even more protection from Australia’s harsh soil conditions.’ The deployment is part of a USD1.5 billion project aiming to roll out more than 20,000km of fibre ‘connecting major data hubs in every capital city in every state and territory across Australia’, capable of carrying more than 10,000Tbps. A press release stated: ‘HyperOne will also create new major interconnection points for more international undersea cables into Australia from Asia and as far as the Americas and Antarctica.’ According to a map on the project’s website, the backbone will interconnect Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin, with two submarine links to Tasmania; onward connectivity to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America would also be provided.

Converge ICT Solutions has completed its Mindanao redundancy loop, with the newly-completed segment connecting the cable landing point in Cagayan de Oro with Buenavista and completing a network ring that passes through key areas in Mindanao such as Tagum, Davao and Valencia. Converge operates a 90,000km fibre-optic backbone and the 1,800km Converge Domestic Submarine Cable Network (CDSCN), which links Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao with 22 landing stations via 48 fibre core optical cables running on 400G and 800G technology.

Saudi operator Saudi Telecom Company (stc) has linked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with Oman via 630km of fibre and 40 towers, between Al Batha and Umm Al-Zamoul, both located at the Omani border. The project was implemented through ten local contractors.

Lastly, Ciena Corporation has entered into an accelerated share repurchase (ASR) agreement with Goldman Sachs to repurchase USD250.0 million of the company’s common stock as part of the company’s previously announced USD1.0 billion share repurchase programme. Under the ASR agreement, Ciena will make a payment of USD250.0 million to Goldman and will receive an initial share delivery of approximately 2.7 million shares, representing approximately 80% of the expected share repurchases under the ASR agreement, based on the closing price of the common stock of USD74.12 on 13 December 2021. Final settlement of the transactions under the ASR agreement is expected to occur during the fiscal quarter ending 30 April 2022.

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Australia, Colombia, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Maldives, Nauru, Oman, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), America Movil (AM), Claro Colombia, Converge ICT Solutions, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), HMN Tech (formerly Huawei Marine), HyperOne, Ooredoo Maldives, Saudi Telecom Company (stc)