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

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13 Jan 2023

China Telecom Global (CTG) and SUNeVision Holdings (SUNeVision) have revealed that the Hong Kong segment of the Asia Direct Cable (ADC) system has landed in SUNeVision’s HKIS-1 cable landing station (CLS), which is located in Chung Hom Kok. SUNeVision’s HKIS-1 was built with direct backhaul access to the hyperscale data centre MEGA Plus including the MEGA-i colocation site, which is home to around 15,000 cross-connects and nine out of eleven City PoPs of international submarine cables in Hong Kong. The 9,400km ADC system will link Batangas (Philippines) to China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The ADC system, which will feature a minimum of 200G DWDM design, is slated for completion by the end of 2023. The ADC consortium – including CTG and Singtel, CAT, PLDT, China Unicom, SoftBank Corp, Tata Communications and Viettel, selected NEC to construct the submarine cable system, which landed in Quy Nhon, located in the province of Binh Dinh (Vietnam), in April 2022.

The EU Commission has awarded EUR7.8 million (USD8.4 million) to the Atlantic-Mediterranean Data Gateway (ATMED-DG) project to finance the deployment of a fibre pair between Lisbon (Portugal), Zahara de los Atunes (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Marseille (France) and Mazara del Vallo (Italy). The ATMED-DG project corresponds to the West Med cable section (3,889km) of the Medusa Submarine Cable System and will be the first project to connect landing stations in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy on the same submarine cable infrastructure. The grant is in addition to the EUR40 million awarded by the EU Commission through the European Investment Bank (EIB). As currently planned, 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 the first half of 2025 for the East Med region.

The ARIMAO submarine cable aiming to link Cuba and Martinique has landed in Schoelcher (Martinique). Deployment of the system commenced on 9 December 2022, at Puerto Tricontinental (Cienfuegos, Cuba). The 2,500km cable will be owned and operated by Empresa de Telecommunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) and French company Orange, while Orange Marine has been tasked with the cable rollout. The system is expected to enter commercial operations in 2023.

Open Access Data Centres (OADC) has revealed that the 2Africa submarine cable is scheduled to land at its newly established OADC Durban data centre in Mtunzini in January 2023. The 2Africa fibre-optic cable system landed in Cape Town (South Africa) at two points, Yzerfontein and Duynefontein, in December 2022. 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. OADC, which is owned by WIOCC, is also a landing partner for Google’s Equiano cable.

AzerTelecom and Kazakhtelecom have signed an ‘Agreement on the Terms of Cooperation’ regarding a project on laying a fibre-optic communication line (FOCL) along the bottom of the Caspian Sea. The agreement defines the main terms of cooperation between the two companies within the framework of a previously signed memorandum. The Trans-Caspian project along the bottom of the Caspian Sea on the Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan route is part of the large-scale Digital Silk Way project, which envisages the formation of a digital telecoms corridor between Europe and Asia. The operators intend to complete the Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan route by the end of 2024; the construction of the cable will commence once a feasibility study has been completed. The main route of the submarine line will run from Aktau (Kazakhstan) to Siyazan (Azerbaijan) with a total length of more than 340km. A reserve channel with length of around 330km will be laid from the Kazakh port of Kuryk to Buzovna, near Baku.

Global Cloud Xchange (GCX) and Tampnet Carrier have announced a strategic partnership to support the increased network demands in the Nordics. The partnership offers a simplified way to expand reach across each company’s network footprint. GCX customers now have access to enhanced route diversity and new network routes throughout the Nordics utilising Tampnet’s footprint which traverses eight countries, connecting over 40 core data centres across twelve markets. In addition, Tampnet’s customers gain access to GCX’s global network which consists of 66,000km of cables spanning 46 countries from North America to Asia, with submarine and terrestrial route diversity and redundancy throughout Europe-Asia and Intra-Asia routes.

Aqua Comms has announced the successful acquisition of Openbyte Infrastructure Private, an India-based telecoms company focused on providing neutral, open access landing solutions for submarine cables. The acquisition of Openbyte is key in supporting Aqua Comms’ global connectivity expansion plans, providing a carrier-neutral platform in India for Aqua Comms services. Aqua Comms CEO Nigel Bayliff commented: ‘This is an important acquisition as we continue to execute our plans to expand the Aqua Comms business into new geographies and as we build out our global network.’

Colt Technology Services has become the first terrestrial client of the new Barcelona CLS, which has been built by AFR-IX Telecom. Colt’s network in Spain and Portugal serves Lisbon, Bilbao, Madrid and Barcelona, and it has 13 connection points to data centres in Barcelona.

Lastly, Panduit Corp has acquired submarine cable and pipe protection product portfolio and related technologies from South Korea marine manufacturer DongWon EN-Tec (DWE). The product portfolio includes URAPROTECT, a polyurethane submarine cable and pipe protector solution, bend stiffeners and restrictors, and J-Tube seals for wind turbine applications. The transaction allows Panduit to offer its Asia-Pacific customers a wider breadth of capabilities and a growing portfolio of complementary industrial products used for protecting power cable and fibre-optic subsea cable installations against hazardous conditions.

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