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

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16 Dec 2022

Orange has revealed that the Medusa Submarine Cable System will land at Orange’s new infrastructure facility in Marseille (France). Orange is now investing in new submarine cable landing infrastructure in Marseille, supported by an urban network interconnecting all data centres in the area. The 8,760km Medusa is aiming to connect ten countries along the Mediterranean (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt) with 16 landing points. The cable will feature festoon architecture and will have segments with up to 24 fibre pairs with a capacity of 20Tbps per fibre pair. The system will be ready for service (RFS) at the end of 2024 for the West Med region and first half of 2025 for the East Med region.

Edge Cable Holdings (Meta), AMCS, Keppel Midgard Holdings, Keppel Midgard USA and PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin) have applied for a licence to land and operate within US territory the Bifrost cable system, a private fibre-optic submarine cable network connecting California (US), Oregon (US), Guam, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore. The Bifrost system will consist of six segments: the 16,460km main trunk will connect Grover Beach (California, US) with Alupang (Guam) and Tuas (Singapore). It will have twelve fibre pairs, each having a design capacity of 10.4Tbps using current technology. The Oregon Branch will connect Winema (Oregon) with a branching unit on the main trunk; the 1,526km branch will have six fibre pairs, each with a design capacity of 10.4Tbps. The 1,127km Rosarito Branch will connect Rosarito (Mexico) with a branching unit on the main trunk, featuring six fibre pairs with design capacity of 10.4Tbps each. The 184km Davao Branch will connect Davao (Philippines) with a branching unit on the main trunk; it will have ten fibre pairs with a design capacity of 10.4Tbps each. The 311km Manado Branch will connect Manado (Indonesia) with a branching unit on the main trunk; it will have six fibre pairs with a design capacity of 10.4Tbps each. The 280km Jakarta Branch will connect Jakarta (Indonesia) with a branching unit on the main trunk; it will have twelve fibre pairs, with a design capacity of 10.4Tbps each. The Bifrost system will also be constructed with an unused branching unit on the main trunk off the coast of Balikpapan (Indonesia). At this time, there are no specific plans regarding a potential build-out of that branch. The applicants have requested a streamlined processing of this application and a timely licence grant following national security review, in order to facilitate construction and testing of the system beginning in September 2023, with commercial operation of the Bifrost system scheduled to commence by the second quarter of 2024.

The 2Africa fibre-optic cable system has landed in Cape Town (South Africa) at two points, Yzerfontein and Duynefontein. The Yzerfontein landing will support the 2Africa West cable and MTN South Africa’s landing station in nearby Duynefontein will support the 2Africa East section of the system. Upon completion, the 47,000km 2Africa submarine network is expected to be the longest in the world, connecting 46 locations 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.

Telecom Egypt and Grid Telecom have signed a collaboration agreement to build a submarine cable system connecting Egypt and Greece. The planned system will connect Port Said in Egypt to the Greek island of Crete, thus creating what the two companies claim would be ‘the shortest, lowest latency, Mediterranean path between Egypt and Europe’, extending northwards to the Balkans region and adjacent important destinations in Central and Western Europe, and southwards to the Arabian Peninsula and other regions in Africa and Asia.

Cypriot telecoms operator Cyta has announced the signing of an agreement with Lebanon’s Ministry of Telecommunications for the construction and maintenance of a new submarine cable system between Cyprus and Lebanon, called CADMOS-2. CADMOS-2 will complement and going forward, will replace, a cable system interconnecting the two countries since 1995. The new cable will have landing points in Pentaskhinos in Cyprus and Beirut (Lebanon) and is expected to be operational in 2024.

Rostelecom has completed the construction of a submarine fibre-optic line in the Bering Sea. The Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky-Anadyr-Ugolnyye Kopi network has a total length of 2,173km and could support 100Gbps (upgradable to 8Tbps). As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CableCompendium, Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media (a.k.a. Ministry of Communications or Minkomsvyaz) launched a tender for the deployment in August 2019.

Zayo has announced a series of expansions to its independent fibre network infrastructure, including continued growth in its long-haul capacity with three new and overbuilt dark fibre routes, 18 new 400Gbps (400G) enabled routes, and a newly completed Transpacific subsea route connecting the US and Tokyo. Zayo’s two new dark fibre routes include Cleveland to Columbus (completed) and St. Louis to Indianapolis (to be finalised by end-2022). In addition to the new dark fibre routes, Zayo has overbuilt the Las Vegas to Phoenix route with new fibre capacity; in 2023, Zayo is set to enable this route with 400G capabilities using the overbuilt fibre. Zayo’s newest completed Transpacific subsea route connecting Hillsboro (Oregon, US) to Tokyo utilising the Tata TGN-Pacific cable marks the third Transpacific route for Zayo, in addition to its existing capabilities on the Pacific Crossing-1 (PC-1) and Unity/EAC-Pacific.

EXA Infrastructure has announced that it will be further investing in the Iberian Peninsula with a second new diverse terrestrial route between Spain and Lisbon (Portugal) connecting to EXA’s Spanish backbone. EXA Infrastructure owns 112,000km of fibre network across 32 countries.

Lastly, Equinix has announced plans to enter the South African market with a USD160 million data centre investment in Johannesburg that augments its current footprint on the African continent in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. The new data centre is expected to open mid-2024.

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