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

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30 Sep 2022

Google has notified the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that the Grace Hopper cable system linking New York (US) and Bude (UK) was put into service on 27 September 2022. Grace Hopper features a main trunk from Lumen’s existing landing station in New York to its landing facility in Bude, and a branch connecting a single branching unit on the main trunk to the existing landing facility in Bilbao. The main trunk has a total length of 6,354km and will consist of 16 fibre pairs, while the Spain Branch stretches 837km featuring 16 fibre pairs. Each fibre pair has a total design capacity of approximately 22Tbps (for a total design capacity of approximately 352Tbps).

The FCC has given its consent to the pro forma transfer of control of Sprint Communications Company’s (SCCLP’s) submarine cable landing licences as a results of the anticipated increase in Deutsche Telekom’s indirect equity ownership in T-Mobile (owner of Sprint) to 50% or more. Specifically, the transaction will result in the pro forma transfer of control of the following submarine cable licences held by Sprint that are not subject to forbearance: Americas-II, North, South, and West Rings segments (4.9% voting rights); Antillas-I, Puerto Rico-Dominican Republic segment (4.88%); and Maya-1, US-Central America segment (4.48%).

C&W Networks is leveraging Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme to upgrade its Colombia-Florida Subsea Fiber (CFX-1) and East-West submarine cable networks to deliver advanced fixed broadband and IP services of up to 400Gbps. C&W Networks operates a submarine multi-ring fibre-optic network in the greater Caribbean, Central American and Andean regions, providing connectivity to approximately 40 countries. The 2,400km CFX-1 cable connects Boca Raton (Florida, US), Copa Club and Morant Point (Jamaica) and Cartagena (Colombia) with less than 25ms latency, while the 1,750km East-West cable links Nanny Cay (UK Virgin Islands), Harbour View (Jamaica) and Haina (the Dominican Republic). With Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme, which utilises the 6500 Packet-Optical Platform powered by WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optics, the CFX-1 cable is updated to provide a ten-fold capacity increase of over 32Tbps with 100Gbps-400Gbps services.

Guam lawmakers have unanimously voted to pass Bill 277-36, a measure authorising the Chamorro Land Trust Commission (CLTC) to enter into commercial submerged land licence agreements with telecom companies, Post Guam writes. Introduced by Speaker Therese Terlaje, Bill 277 also establishes regulations and requirements for the submerged land licences. There are at least eleven submarine cables that either pass through or end in Guam; in addition to local telecom providers, other major companies operating in a cable consortium include AT&T, Tata Telecom, RAM Telecom international (RTI), TPG, Google, Verizon and SoftBank. Bill 277 would standardise the lease agreements on submerged land held by the CLTC through the end of 2031. On top of a USD100,000 landing fee, each telecom company looking to run fibre through Guam would have to pay a USD100,000 per-cable annual fee for up to 25 years. That annual fee would gradually increase until it reaches USD119,509 per cable per year in 2031.

PNG DataCo has now secured and scheduled the repair vessels to arrive in Papua New Guinea in mid-October 2022 to commence work on the multiple cable breakages in Madang. DataCo however warned users in Momase, Highlands and the New Guinea Islands regions of degraded user experience due to the limited satellite capacity being used during the outage period. TeleGeography notes that DataCo advised earlier this month that it was facing multiple service disruptions following a 7.7 magnitude earthquake on 11 September. The company said that several breakages had been detected between 17km and 170km outside of Madang on the PIPE Pacific Cable-1 (PPC-1) and the Kumul Domestic Submarine Cable System.

Kazakhtelecom (KT) and AzerTelecom have signed a strategic cooperation memorandum to lay fibre-optic communication lines under the Caspian Sea, Kazinform reports. The agreement provides for strategic partnership between the two operators as part of the Trans-Caspian fibre-optic communication line project along the route Kazakhstan-Azerbaijan, which is a part of the major Digital Silk Way project – aimed at creating a new digital telecom corridor between Europe and Asia through Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank Group – is expanding its relationship with West Indian Ocean Cable Company Holding (WIOCC) with a USD30 million equity investment. The new investment will support WIOCC Group’s continued rollout of terrestrial fibre-optic networks, investment in new submarine cables and the launch of open-access core and edge data centre infrastructure across Africa. IFC’s equity investment builds on its previous financing to WIOCC, in the form of a USD20 million loan issued in 2020.

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