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

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7 Jan 2022

Google’s new submarine cable system aiming to connect North and South America will land at Grand Strand in South Carolina. From there, the Firmina cable will run to Las Toninas, Argentina, with additional landings in Praia Grande, Brazil and Punta del Este (Uruguay). Designed as a twelve-fibre pair trunk, Firmina will improve access to Google services for users in South America. Manufacture of the cable and equipment will take place at SubCom’s manufacturing campus in Newington (New Hampshire, US) in 2021/2022, with main lay installation operations scheduled for the summer of 2022. The system is expected to be ready for service (RFS) by the end of 2023.

Deployment works on the LaValette branch linking Malta to Marseille and Egypt have commenced at Golden Bay, Times of Malta writes. The new infrastructure is part of GO’s EUR25 million (USD28.3 million) National Connectivity Project and forms part of the 15,000km PEACE Cable project. The 55km LaValette branch will connect Malta to the 3,214km Mediterranean section of the PEACE Cable system, between Marseille and Egypt via Cyprus. Cable laying works between Abu Talat (Egypt) and Cyprus started on 4 August 2021 and were completed on 23 August. End-to-end testing of the Malta branch is expected in late January or early February 2022 with full connectivity by March 2022.

Finnish company Cinia and US telco infrastructure company Far North Digital have agreed to build a submarine cable named the Far North Fiber, The Register writes. The new infrastructure will connect Japan to Norway and Ireland via Alaska and the Canadian Arctic. According to the plan, the 14,000km system is expected to start operations in 2025.

Chile’s Desarrollo Pais (previously Fondo de Infraestructura) has selected Singaporean-based H2 as its partner for the proposed Humboldt cable project aiming to connect Valparaiso (Chile) to Auckland (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia). The initial design of the 14,810km Humboldt cable includes between four and eight fibre-optic pairs, with a transmission capacity of 10Tbps-20Tbps; the system is slated to enter operations in early 2025. H2 had contracted Hawaiki to finalise the system design, launch the contracting process, and contact potential key customers.

EXA Infrastructure and IslaLink have announced a partnership under which EXA will become the key landing and terrestrial services partner in Italy and anchor tenant of the IONIAN system. IONIAN is a 24-fibre pair cable across the Ionian Sea from Crotone in southern Italy to Preveza in Greece. IONIAN has contract in force (CIF) and is due to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022. Through the partnership, EXA Infrastructure will offer IslaLink a fibre route between Crotone and the Italian data centre hubs of Milan and Rome. It will also construct the beach manhole and front-haul ducts in Crotone and provide maintenance services for the Cable Landing Station (CLS). EXA Infrastructure will also be a main anchor customer on the new cable and will also construct a new 345km high fibre-count G.652D cable between its existing network in Bari and Crotone, to ensure that the quality of the IONIAN fibre cable can be matched by that of the terrestrial backhaul.

The Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure is seeking proposals for a commercial and technical feasibility study that will investigate the potential to update the Cayman Islands’ international telecoms infrastructure with a new submarine cable and related services, the Cayman Compass writes. The request for proposal is closing on 10 January 2022. The feasibility study will help the ministry to formulate a Submarine Cable Modernisation Plan. In its latest two-year budget, the government has allocated USD15 million for a submarine cable in 2022 and another USD15 million in 2023, though it is expected that the government would seek to partner with private sector firms to stem the project. Cayman is currently connected to two submarine cables, the 870km Cayman Jamaica Fiber System (CJFS) between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica and the 4,400km Maya-1 cable linking the Cayman Islands to Miami.

Converge ICT Solutions has boosted its international network through additional capacity on the C2C subsea cable system. Converge said that 1.3Tbps capacity was added to the C2C cable system, which forms part of Asia’s largest privately owned submarine cable network East Asia Crossing-City to City (EAC-C2C) network. The company added that 700Gbps out of the additional 1.3Tbps capacity is currently active.

Bangladesh has confirmed that it could provide a 10Gbps International Private Leased Circuit (IPLC) to Bhutan ‘at a friendly rate’. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh said in a press release: ‘As decided, Bangladesh will provide internet bandwidth to Bhutan at a rate of USD3.00 per Mbps for a 10Gbps IPLC from Singapore Equinix to the zero point between Bangladesh and India near Cumilla.’ The fibre-optic cable connection inside Bangladesh will cover a distance of about 350km, from the submarine cable landing station at Kuakata to the Indian border city of Agartala. The deal offered by Bangladesh will come into effect once a memorandum of understanding (MoU) is signed between the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company (BSCCL) and Bhutanese authorities.

Teraco Data Environments has announced that Digital Realty has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake in Teraco from a consortium of investors, including Berkshire Partners and Permira. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2022 and is subject to customary closing conditions. After closing, Digital Realty will own approximately 55% of the total equity interests in Teraco, while the remaining 45% will be held by a consortium of existing shareholders, including management, Berkshire Partners, Permira, van Rooyen Group, Columbia Capital, Stepstone Ventures and the Teraco Connect Trust.

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Argentina, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Chile, Italy, Japan, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, United States, Uruguay, Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL), Cinia Group (formerly Corenet), Converge ICT Solutions, EXA Infrastructure (formerly GTT Infrastructure), Google (Alphabet), Hawaiki Cable, IslaLink, Teraco Data Environments