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

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27 Jan 2023

The 2Africa submarine cable has landed in Yanbu (Saudi Arabia), following a landing in Jeddah earlier this month. The system is now expected to complete its third landing in the country, in Duba, shortly. Upon completion, the 47,000km 2Africa submarine network is deemed to be the longest in the world, connecting 46 locations in Africa, Europe and Asia. Portions of 2Africa are expected to enter commercial service by the end of 2023, delivering a design capacity of up to 180Tbps on key parts of the system.

The IONIAN system aiming to link Italy to Greece has completed its landing in Preveza. The IONIAN is a 24-fibre pair cable across the Ionian Sea from Crotone in southern Italy to Preveza in Greece, developed by IslaLink. Via a partnership inked in January 2022, EXA Infrastructure will offer IslaLink a fibre route between Crotone and the Italian data centre hubs of Milan and Rome. It will also construct the beach manhole and front-haul ducts in Crotone and provide maintenance services for the Cable Landing Station (CLS). EXA Infrastructure will also be a main anchor customer on the new cable and will also construct a new 345km high fibre-count G.652D cable between its existing network in Bari and Crotone, to ensure that the quality of the IONIAN fibre cable can be matched by that of the terrestrial backhaul.

Eastern Communications, Globe Telecom and InfiniVAN have deployed a new cable-laying ship, called Subaru, to finish the construction of the Philippine Domestic Submarine Cable Network (PDSCN) by April 2023. The cable ship will install nine segments of the system. The project kickstarted in July 2022 in Subic (Zambales) and has landed at 20 sites so far. The nine remaining segments of the submarine cable will connect 13 cities, namely: Calatrava, Romblon; Pasacao, Camarines Sur; Bulan, Sorsogon; Calbayog City, Samar; Palanas, Masbate; Mactan, Cebu; Maasin City, Leyte; Claver, Surigao del Norte; Kinoguitan, Misamis Oriental; Camiguin; Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte; Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte; and Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted a 25-year extension of the operating concession for the St. Thomas-St. Croix System, conditional on the assurance that AT&T Corp abides by the commitments and undertakings set forth in a Letter of Agreement (LoA) dated 9 January 2023. The cable – comprising twelve fibre pairs – links Magens Bay (St Thomas) to Butler Bay (St Croix) in the US Virgin Islands, interconnecting with the Americas-1, Columbus-II and Taino-Carib cable networks to provide connectivity to the US mainland, other Caribbean islands and Central and South America. The 113km cable has operated for 25 years (pursuant to the cable landing licence granted in 1997) and has been upgraded multiple times by 2020 in order to provide more than 600Gbps of cumulative available capacity. AT&T Corp submitted the renewal application to the FCC in January 2022.

Cuba’s Ministry of Communications (Mincom) is working to put the new ARIMAO fibre-optic cable between Cuba and Martinique into operation as soon as possible, local newspaper Granma writes. Alejandro Ruiz, director of the Telecommunications department at the Mincom, explained that after the laying of undersea fibre-optic cables has concluded, the terrestrial laying and the integration of equipment and systems of the interconnected points will be finished. Deployment of the system commenced on 9 December 2022, at Puerto Tricontinental (Cienfuegos, Cuba), with the system landing in Schoelcher (Martinique) earlier this month. 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 Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) submarine cable, which connects Vietnam with mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, has encountered a new technical problem, with the issue located 151km offshore. VnExpress writes that according to the cable’s management unit, the issue has affected internet connections throughout the entire line, with a repair timeline not provided at the time. The system previously suffered an issue on the S6 cable section near Hong Kong in late December 2022, and that fault is yet to be fixed.

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