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

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2 Dec 2022

America Movil (via subsidiary Claro Costa Rica) has invested USD500 million to extend the America Movil Submarine Cable System-1 (AMX-1) submarine cable to Costa Rica and build a landing station in Limon. This is the second extension that America Movil has inaugurated in a year, following the landing of the submarine cable system in the Colombian island of San Andres in December 2021; it has a total length of 727km and cost USD15 million to deploy. The AMX-1 landed in Cancun (Mexico) in December 2013 and was put into service shortly after. The 17,800km submarine cable was built by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), with a design capacity of 85Tbps. It links North and Central America to the southern tip of South America, with connection points in Miami and Jacksonville (US), Barranquilla, Cartagena and San Andres (Colombia), Fortaleza, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), Cancun (Mexico), San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Puerto Barrios (Guatemala).

The US Justice Department-led committee Team Telecom has urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny an application to connect Cuba to the US via a submarine cable branch of the existing ARCOS-1 system. Team Telecom said the proposal raised national security concerns, as the cable landing system in Cuba would be owned and controlled by Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecommunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) and would be the only direct, commercial submarine cable connection between the US and Cuba. An FCC spokesman said the agency is reviewing the recommendations. The ARCOS-1 submarine cable system currently connects the US with 14 countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

Grid Telecom, a wholly owned subsidiary company of the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) of Greece, and Lamda Hellix have announced the expansion of their strategic cooperation by aligning their investments. Lamda Hellix is planning to deploy its first carrier-neutral data centre HER1 in Heraklion (Crete); the acquired site is expected to support the development of up to 6.5MW of installed IT load, with the first phase scheduled for completion in 2025. Due to its proximity to the coast, the facility will also serve as a cable landing station for subsea systems landing near Heraklion. Grid Telecom meanwhile is aiming to develop and establish the island of Crete as a strategic interconnection node by adding capacity of hundreds of TBps, through MINOAS East-West and APOLLO East-West submarine cable systems, which provide four geographically alternative routes to the Greek mainland with 96 fibre pairs in total. Grid Telecom has also announced it plans to build a cable landing station on the southern coast of Crete, that will anchor new subsea cable systems crossing the Eastern Mediterranean, providing carrier and hosting facilities. The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that extends their established strategic cooperation at Lamda Hellix’s Athens Campus to the Heraklion facility, where Grid Telecom intends to establish a high capacity PoP.

NORDUnet has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Far North Fiber expressing interest in a dedicated fibre pair in the FNF Submarine Cable System between Norway/Finland and Japan. This could potentially also include other landing points, pending interest from Research & Education (R&E) Network organisations. This fibre pair in FNF cable system will be among the first intercontinental fibre pairs owned and managed by the research and education communities. Far North Fiber was established by an international consortium of companies – including Finland’s Cinia, Alaska’s Far North Digital and Japan’s ARTERIA Networks. The team will promote a system that aims to realise a faster and more secure route directly connecting Japan, North America, Ireland and Scandinavia. Far North Fiber estimates that the nearly 17,000km system will be ready for service (RFS) by the end of 2026. Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has been selected to build and install the submarine cable and equipment required for this project.

GlobalNet has launched services on a 2,000km fibre network between Frankfurt (Germany) and Helsinki (Finland), offering 800G wavelength capabilities. The new route features connectivity to several major markets between the two end points, including Stockholm, Hamburg, and Amsterdam. The 800G wavelength capabilities derive from the use of Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 coherent optical engines, with more than 90 network nodes featuring this technology. Alex Surkoff, business development director at GlobalNet, said: ‘We have completed our backbone running the route of Stockholm-Amsterdam-Frankfurt and improved the metrics of certain network sections thanks to the new protecting routes, consisting of about 90 new or updated network nodes.’

A cable fault has been reported in a terrestrial segment of the SeaMeWe-5 submarine cable in Egypt, thus affecting services in Pakistan, other Asian nations and parts of Africa, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has confirmed. The 20,000km SeaMeWe-5 cable links a total of 17 countries – Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and France. The cable is largely submarine, except for a 480km overland stretch in Egypt, which was rolled out in order to avoid disturbance caused by the movement of ships in the Suez Canal. The SeaMeWe-5 most recently experienced a cut in August 2022 at the junction of the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea near Egypt, causing disruptions in Pakistan and other countries. A statement issued by TransWorld Home – the company operating the cable in Pakistan – said that the disruption was due to a ‘fibre cut in the terrestrial network’.

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