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

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24 Jun 2022

AFR-IX and MEO (Altice Portugal) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) defining the guidelines for the landing of the Medusa Submarine Cable System in Carcavelos, in the municipality of Cascais (Lisbon district, Portugal). Norman Albi, CEO of AFR-IX, said: ‘The Portuguese coast has always been strategic to generate connections, as it is the gateway to the Atlantic and West Africa. It was decisive for Medusa that the start of its route was Portuguese and Carcavelos offers optimal conditions for this.’ The system will have a total length of 8,700km and will include 16 landing points in nine countries: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy, Algeria, Tunisia, Greece and Egypt. It will feature 24 fibre pairs with design capacity of 20Tbps per fibre pair. The cable system will be operated on an open access basis, subject to local regulations. All Medusa Atlantic and West Mediterranean landings will be installed and operational by 2024, while the East Mediterranean landings will be ready for service (RFS) by 2025; AFR-IX expects the cable to reach Carcavelos during the second quarter of 2024. The system – being built by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) – will involve total investment of EUR326 million (USD343 million).

Telecom Egypt and Grid Telecom, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) of Greece, signed Heads of Agreement to connect Greece and Egypt by extending a branch from a major submarine cable system, which is currently being laid across the Mediterranean Sea. The planned connectivity between Egypt and Greece will serve the increasing data traffic between Africa, Asia and Europe creating a new reliable telecommunications corridor interconnecting the three continents. It will be the shortest possible path crossing the Mediterranean basin to reach the Balkans region as well as other important destinations like Genoa (Italy) and Marseilles (France) over hybrid terrestrial and submarine networks.

Filipino operator PLDT has deployed additional submarine cable links to connect major islands in Southern Luzon and Visayas for the first time, expanding its fibre service to Burias Island in Masbate, Lubang Island in Occidental Mindoro and Semirara Island in Antique. Deploying additional submarine cables is part of PLDT’s major project with technology partner NTT-WEM. The goal is to improve connectivity in the Southern Luzon provinces of Sorsogon, Quezon, Albay and Occidental Mindoro, as well as some parts of Visayas, such as Samar and Aklan. The project involved laying over 600km of submarine fibre-optic cable and corresponding inland domestic fibre links.

A new submarine cable maintenance vessel, the Ile de Molene, will be inaugurated in Calais and will join the Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) fleet. The Ile de Molene will be assigned to the maintenance of submarine telecoms cables and will enter services at the end of the second quarter of 2022.

Colombian telecoms operator Media Commerce has picked Ciena’s WaveLogic Extreme (WL5e) coherent optical technology, which is designed to support up to 800Gbps capacity per channel across terrestrial and submarine applications.

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Algeria, Colombia, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, AFR-IX telecom, Altice Portugal (MEO), Ciena Corporation, Media Commerce, PLDT Inc. (incl. Smart Communications and Sun Cellular), Telecom Egypt