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

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29 Apr 2022

Google has submitted an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a licence to construct, land and operate a private, non-common carrier submarine fibre-optic cable connecting the US, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, called Firmina. The system will comprise a main trunk from Myrtle Beach (South Carolina, US) to Las Toninas (Argentina), with two branching units (BUs) connecting branches to Praia Grande (Brazil) and Punta del Este (Uruguay). In addition, there are two planned BUs, one with a stubbed branch pointing towards Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic and another towards Fortaleza (Brazil). The main trunk will have a total length of 13,413km and will consist of 16 fibre pairs, while the branch to Praia Grande will comprise 24 fibre pairs (580km), Punta del Este (twelve fibre pairs, 524km), Puerto Rico/Dominican Republic (twelve fibre pairs) and Fortaleza (16 fibre pairs). Each fibre pair will have a total design capacity of approximately 15Tbps (for a total of approximately 240Tbps). Google has requested a timely licence grant in order to facilitate construction and testing of the system in April 2023. Subject to authorisation, Google intends to commence commercial operation of the US endpoint of the system in December 2023.

Bevan Slattery-backed SUB.CO has announced that the final cable landing for its 9,800km Oman Australia Cable (OAC) was completed in Barka (Oman) on 28 April. When it enters commercial services, OAC will be the only submarine cable directly connecting continental Australia and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) by directly linking Oman to Perth (Australia). TeleGeography notes that the Marine Route Survey for the OAC system commenced in October 2020 and was completed in February 2021. In Australia, the Perth cable landing infrastructure construction commenced in October 2020 and was completed later in December; the works included an additional seaward facing duct installed for maintenance and possible future cable installation. The cable landed in Perth in July 2021 and is expected to be ready for service in July 2022. The OAC cable will also connect to the INDIGO cable system as part of a new ‘Great Southern Route’ between the US, Australia and EMEA.

The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) has applied for a cable landing licence for the Bahamas 2 submarine cable system to allow for the continued operation of the submarine cable for an additional 25-year term. The 470km Bahamas 2 system connects with the domestic networks in the continental US and the Bahamas, operating successfully for 24 years pursuant to the cable landing licence granted in 1996. The Bahamas 2 is a common carrier submarine cable that extends from a landing point at Vero Beach (Florida) to Nassau (Bahamas), with an intermediate point at Eight Mile Rock (Bahamas). The system consists of five optical fibre pairs, with the capacity of each pair comprised of 16 100Gbps Basic System Modules (BSMs).

Inligo Networks has signed a global master agreement with Equinix, under which Equinix will provide space and power capacity for the Asia Connect Cable (ACC1) system landing in Singapore. The agreement allows for Inligo to split its footprint in Singapore across Equinix and its landing partner’s data centre to assist with managing availability into Singapore from multiple entry points. The ACC1 will feature design capacity of up to 128Tbps, with landings in Singapore (Singapore), Medan, Batam, Jakarta, Manado and Makassar (Indonesia), Dili (Timor-Leste), Darwin (Australia) and Guam and Los Angeles (the US). Construction of the system will begin in 2022, with the first route scheduled to connect Singapore, Batam and Jakarta. In mid-2023, cables will be deployed to Medan, Makassar, Kupang, Dili and Darwin, followed by rollouts from Manado to Guam by the end of 2023. The project is expected to be completed in 2024, connecting Guam to Los Angeles.

Sparkle has opened a second PoP in Fortaleza (Brazil), thus expanding its network capillarity in the country, with 14 PoPs in Sao Paulo, Rio De Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Salvador. The new PoP is fully integrated with Sparkle’s global Tier-1 IP backbone, dubbed Seabone, that boasts coverage in Central and South America with PoPs in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

Arelion (formerly Telia Carrier) has announced the general availability of its latest US East-to-West coast network project. The addition of the new Southwest route provides long-haul connectivity at multi-terabit scale for Dallas and El Paso to the West coast through Phoenix (Arizona), San Diego (California) and Los Angeles (California). This expansion completes the high-capacity system across the US connecting previously announced deployments eastward from Dallas (Texas) via Nashville (Tennessee) to Ashburn (Virginia). The latest expansion also provides new options to serve Mexico.

Internet Technologies Angola (ITA) has announced the establishment of a 200Gbps connection between Cabinda and the town of Noqui (in the Zaire Province), connecting the enclave to the other provinces of Angola by fibre-optic cabling. The new connection is part of ITA’s strategic plan to expand its fibre-optic coverage nationwide.

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