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

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25 Feb 2022

The Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 6 (SeaMeWe-6) consortium announced on 21 February that construction has commenced on the 19,200km submarine cable system connecting multiple countries between Singapore and France. The SeaMeWe-6 consortium includes Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company, Bharti Airtel, Dhiraagu, Djibouti Telecom, Mobily, Orange Group, Singtel, Sri Lanka Telecom, Telecom Egypt, Telekom Malaysia, Telin and Transworld Associates. SeaMeWe-6 will have more fibre pairs and more than double the capacity as compared to previous SeaMeWe cables. The new cable will traverse Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, India, Pakistan, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2025.

Digicel Tonga and Tonga Communications Corp (TCC) have announced that internet connectivity has been restored on the two main islands of Tongatapu and Eua, five weeks after a massive volcanic eruption severed the 827km Tonga Cable that connects the Pacific Island nation with the rest of the world. Although the international undersea cable between Fiji and the main island of Tongatapu is functional once again, the 410km Tonga Domestic Cable Extension to outlying Tongan islands is still down. Digicel’s technical team has set up the satellite link to restore connectivity for Ha’apai island and is working on trying to get Vava’u back online this week. Digicel Tonga CEO Anthony Seuseu commented: ‘We have learnt some tough lessons and we know how important internet connection is to our people. The recent incident has also provided the opportunity to our team to look at increased investment and network optimisation to plan and prepare better for a catastrophic event of such nature in the future.’

Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) has announced that it is extending the India-Asia-Xpress (IAX) cable system to the Maldives in collaboration with Ocean Connect Maldives (OCM). The IAX, which is expected to be ready for service (RFS) by the end of 2023, will connect Hulhumale in the Maldives directly with Mumbai (India) and Singapore, with branches including additional landings in India, Malaysia and Thailand. OCM is a new legal entity 100% owned by the government of the Maldives and established under the Maldives Fund Management Corporation (MFMC) as a subsidiary. It will be categorised as an ICT infrastructure company to invest in physical and digital infrastructure and promote inclusive digital networks and services to help address the digital divide. Jio is also constructing the India-Europe-Xpress (IEX) cable which will stretch from India to the Middle East and Europe (via a landing in Savona, Italy). The two cables will provide more than 200Tbps of capacity spanning over 16,000km.

Arc Solutions – the infrastructure joint venture between Du and Batelco which was established in 2019 – has signed an agreement with Israeli ISP Bezeq International to deploy its network in Bezeq International’s data centre in Tel Aviv. Arc and Bezeq International intend to create the lowest latency route between regional hubs in datamena (UAE), Global Zone (Bahrain), Smarthub (UAE) and Israel, combining network footprints, enabling partners and customers to access a rich portfolio of destinations and services. Ron Glav, VP Business Division & Global Alliances at Bezeq International, commented: ‘The Israel–United Arab Emirates agreement has just found us ready to supply, taking advantage of Israel’s unique geographic position as a hub connecting between Europe, Asia and Africa and new Middle Eastern markets.’

Finally, ADVA has announced that CSC – IT Center for Science, which operates the Finnish University and Research Network (FUNET) and the Swedish University Computer Network (SUNET), have conducted a world-first trial carrying data at 400Gbps over more than 10,000km. Using both FUNET and SUNET, the demo harnessed the ADVA FSP 3000 TeraFlex CoreChannel to transmit services at ‘unprecedented line speeds for a live ultra-long-haul network’.

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