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

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27 May 2022

Construction work on the IRIS submarine cable system aiming to connect Iceland and Ireland has commenced in Thorlakshofn (Iceland). The cable has been manufactured by SubCom, which is also responsible for the cable installation. During the summer months, SubCom’s CS Durable will lay the cable south from Iceland to Galway (Ireland) with final splice and completion of marine work planned for mid-August 2022. Expected to enter commercial services in the beginning of 2023, the IRIS system is designed as a six-fibre pair trunk with a total system capacity of 108Tbps, with each fibre pair delivering 18Tbps. IRIS will be approximately 1,750km in length and will connect Thorlakshofn in Iceland to Ballyloughane Strand in Galway, Ireland. State-owned international connectivity provider Farice currently owns and operates the FARICE-1 and DANICE systems.

The Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii (RCUH) has announced the award of a request for proposal (RFP) for Cable Landing Station (CLS) site surveys to Ocean Networks (ONI), with a notice to proceed issued on 23 May 2022. The study will identify suitable landing sites, landing stations, the safest submarine cable routing and the required cable specifications to build a new inter-island fibre-optic network for the Hawaiian Islands. The scope of work for the CLS site surveys includes identifying potential beach manholes and landing points on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, as well as potential cable landing stations. At minimum two sites on each of the four islands will be identified to ensure redundancy between islands. Work will also identify potential locations on Lanai and Molokai.

AquaComms and Celtic Norse have announced a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) for renewed cooperation in developing the Celtic Norse-1 cable system between an existing cable station in Killala Bay, County Mayo in Ireland and a new site at Oeysanden (Trondheim) in Norway. The contract in force is scheduled to commence by year-end, with the 2,004km cable expected to be completed by 2025.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) operator DataCo has revealed that the planned outage on the Coral Sea Cable System (CS2) between Port Moresby (PNG) and Sydney (Australia) from 22 May 2022 until 29 May 2022 has now been deferred to October 2022. The cut is considered as ‘a critical precautionary measure to mitigate serious issues over the life of this asset.’ After the commissioning of the CS2 cable in February 2020, a shunt fault was detected in early 2021 posing a risk to the ongoing smooth operation of the cable system. Elsewhere, DataCo clarified that the internet outage that occurred last week and affected services on CS2 was not a system failure, rather than a fault in equipment in DataCo nodes, with services restored on 15 May 2022.

Peru’s National Telecommunications Programme (Programa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones, Pronatel) has cancelled a tender for the operation and maintenance of the 13,600km National Fibre Optic Backbone (Red Dorsal Nacional de Fibra Optica or RDNFO). Pronatel indicated that, of the 14 parties interested in the contract, only three made offers: mobile operator Viettel and two consortiums, Dorsal Peru (including Gilat Networks and Optical Networks) and Fibra Optica del Peru (including companies linked to Satelital). The agency subsequently ruled that none of the three bidders had managed to comply with the conditions of the tender. The RDNFO was previously managed by Azteca Comunicaciones, though the operator submitted a proposal in early 2020 to terminate its concession early by mutual agreement. Negotiations between Azteca and the Ministry of Transport and Communications (Ministerio de Transportes y Comunicaciones, MTC) were unsuccessful and in July 2021 the ministry unilaterally ordered the cancellation of the licence, to take effect from early 2022.

NTT has launched its first data centre in Spain, opening a new facility outside Madrid, in the municipality of Las Rozas. NTT now operates 19 data centres across Europe, with aims to increase its available IT load in the EMEA region by over 40%, opening 13 new data centre buildings in six countries by the summer of 2023. The company is due to launch a new campus in Johannesburg (South Africa) and add additional buildings in Vienna, Austria and across Germany.

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