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

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5 Aug 2022

Chile’s state-owned entity Desarrollo Pais and H2 Cable, a subsidiary of Singapore-based BW Digital, have issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the construction of the Humboldt cable system aiming to connect Valparaiso (Chile) to Auckland (New Zealand) and Sydney (Australia). Additional branching stubs will allow for connection to other countries and territories, including Juan Fernandez and Easter Islands. Desarrollo Pais CEO Patricio Rey Sommer said: ‘The project is entering its most challenging stage with the technical definition of the route and schedules for execution now being set, and we have asked that suppliers’ proposals be based on an Open Cable System model.’ International Connectivity Services, the service company of the Hawaiki Group (now wholly-owned by BW Digital), has been engaged to finalise the cable system design, launch the procurement process and engage with prospective anchor customers. Depending on responses from the market, Desarrollo Pais and H2 Cable will make the necessary investments to build and operate the system. 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.

More than 1,280km of fibre-optic cable arrived in Unalaska after a month-long voyage from Germany, with cable-laying vessel Intrepid scheduled to commence the deployment of the submarine section of GCI’s Alaska United-Aleutians Fiber Project this week in Unalaska. The project will provide terrestrial broadband service to underserved areas of the state. The new infrastructure will bring broadband to Unalaska/Dutch Harbor and five other communities – King Cove, Sand Point, Akutan, Chignik Bay and Larsen Bay. The project – including a new 1,280km submarine fibre-optic system from Kodiak along the south side of the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutians to Unalaska – is slated for completion by the end of 2022. Service is scheduled to begin at Unalaska and Akutan by the end of 2022, Sand Point and King Cove by the end of 2023, and Chignik Bay and Larsen Bay in late 2024. The total cost of the project is USD58 million, with GCI providing additional funding of USD33 million.

Lumen Technologies (formerly CenturyLink) officially closed the sale of its Latin American operations to Stonepeak for USD2.7 billion cash on 1 August. The Latin American business will now be called Cirion and be operated as an independent portfolio company of Stonepeak. Going forward, Lumen and Cirion have established a strategic relationship to serve customers in the region. It includes reciprocal reselling and network arrangements that leverage each other’s extensive fibre footprints, data centres and other network assets. The assets in question were acquired by CenturyLink in 2017, as part of its buyout of Level 3. At that time the company presided over a 26,000km LatAm network footprint that spanned the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Peru. The Stonepeak deal was agreed in July 2021.

A major internet outage in Iran was reportedly caused by a fire at a Telecom Infrastructure Company (TIC) data centre in Tehran. Multiple service providers were impacted, along with both fixed and mobile internet connections. Previously, in March 2022 similar issues caused outages in Tehran and other cities.

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