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

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11 Nov 2022

A consortium comprising Singtel, China Telecom Global Limited (CTG), China Telecommunications Corporation (CTC), Globe Telecom (Globe), DITO Telecommunity Corporation (DITO) and Unified National Networks (UNN) of Brunei has revealed plans to deploy a USD300 million submarine cable, called the Asia Link Cable System (ALC), linking a number of countries in Southeast Asia. The new system will have landing stations in Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei and Hainan China and will comprise eight fibre pairs that can transmit up to 18Tbps per fibre pair. The submarine system is targeted for completion by the third quarter of 2025.

The 2Africa fibre-optic cable has landed in Marseille (France), with a forthcoming landing in Genoa expected once the Marseille-Barcelona section is completed. The cable was connected to one of the six ducts fitted by GPMM, with Frederic Cazeneuve, Project Marine Manager of Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), explaining: ‘2Africa will be the first cable pulled through the port infrastructure. The presence of the ducts avoids having to make trenches on the beach.’ The official added: ‘The system is so large that we are installing it simultaneously in Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Currently, three boats are mobilised: the Ile de Sein in the Mediterranean, the Ile de Batz in the Red Sea and the Niwa [chartered to E-Marine off Kenya in East Africa. By the end of 2022, Ile de Brehat will be mobilised in South Africa and Mozambique and Ile d’Aix will join the campaign to work in the Red Sea.’ Upon completion, the 47,000km 2Africa submarine network is expected to be the longest in the world, connecting 33 countries in Africa, Europe and Asia. The cable is expected to go live by the end of 2024, delivering a design capacity of up to 180Tbps on key parts of the system.

PEACE Cable International Network (PEACE) has announced that the submarine cable installation of the PEACE Cable system has now been completed. The PEACE Cable will connect France to Pakistan via the Europe-Asia route, and Mombasa (Kenya) via an Indian Ocean route, providing the most direct connectivity route from Asia and East Africa to Europe, as well as reducing existing communication delays between the continents. With the deployment of the Kenya segment, which has a total length of 3,000km, all segments between France, Egypt, Pakistan and Kenya have now achieved final splicing. In August 2022 PEACE completed the construction from Pakistan to France, which comprises the 5,800km Pakistan-Egypt segment connecting Karachi (Pakistan) and Zafarana (Egypt), while the 3,200km Mediterranean segment (PEACE-MED) connecting Marseille (France) and Abu Talat (Egypt) was certified ready for service (RFS) in March 2022. The system will now undergo testing and will be put into commercial use by the end of this year. The PEACE Cable will feature 16Tbps per fibre pair with 200Gbps per single wavelength. Elsewhere, an extension to Singapore is currently undergoing a marine survey, with construction of the segment expected to be completed within two years, while a branch to Tunisia is set to be operational in early 2024.

WIOCC is working with Ciena to become the first operator to activate a fibre pair on the Equiano submarine cable system. To achieve this, WIOCC is deploying Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme Solution, which leverages the 6500 Reconfigurable Line System (RLS), WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optics and Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller. Ciena Services is providing turnkey planning, design and deployment services to ensure project success. The Equiano system, which runs from Portugal to South Africa along the African coast of the Atlantic Ocean, was deployed by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN); it has a design capacity of 144Tbps, with landing points in Namibia, Nigeria, Portugal, Saint Helena, Togo, South Africa and Portugal.

Elsewhere, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted a special temporary authority (STA) filed by HUB Advanced Networks on behalf of the licensees of the Antillas 1 cable system – AT&T Corp, MCI International, Primus Telecommunications, Sprint Communications Company, PREPA Networks and Telefonica Larga Distancia De Puerto Rico – to continue operation of Antillas 1, while the Commission considers an application for an additional ten-year term for the cable. The STA expires on 7 May 2023.

Liquid Dataport, a business of pan-African technology group Cassava Technologies, has announced the launch of a pan-African Software Defined Network (SDN) service, deployed on Liquid’s owned network. The offering will be deployed in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and France in its first phase, with more countries and PoPs to ensure increased coverage in the future.

EXA Infrastructure and WIOCC Group have announced the signing of a deal for capacity on a new terrestrial transport route interconnecting Africa and Europe. WIOCC Group Chief Executive Chris Wood said: ‘Our expanded partnership with EXA Infrastructure enables us to harness EXA’s robust transport routes to Europe through Portugal on a high-capacity network. WIOCC is continually investing to strengthen Africa’s global connectivity, expand open access digital footprint and ICT capabilities, and thereby extend Africa’s influence and capabilities.’

Lastly, Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) has announced the launch of a 400GbE Data Center Interconnect (DCI) service utilising Ciena’s solution. Omantel’s 400GbE DCI service runs on Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform powered by WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optics and is managed by the Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller. The Ciena solution gives Omantel the ability to deploy 100G and, for the first time, 400GbE DCI connectivity over wavelengths up to 800Gbps to accommodate increasing network traffic.

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