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

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3 Feb 2023

Unitirreno Submarine Network (Unitirreno) has announced a contract in force (CIF) for the construction of its new fibre-optic submarine cable system in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The 1,030km system will connect Mazara del Vallo to Genoa (890km) and will have a branch to Rome (140km). The new network will be manufactured by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), while Elettra will be responsible for marine survey and installation services. Unitirreno claims that the system ‘will be the first repeatered 24-pair fibre-optic open cable system in the Mediterranean region’; at 20Tbps per fibre pair, the system’s total capacity will be 480Tbps on the trunk route and 320Tbps on the branch to Rome-Fiumicino. The Unitirreno system will also include two stubbed branching units to facilitate future landings in Sardinia and Palermo. Elettra will initiate survey operations in Q1 2023, with the new system scheduled to be ready for service (RFS) by Q2 2025.

French Polynesian telecoms operator Onati (Vini), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Office of Post and Telecommunications (Office des Postes et Telecommunications, OPT), has selected Intelia and Ciena to help increase the capacity of the Honotua submarine cable system to 300Gbps. The last stage of operations was successfully carried out in October 2022; the cable was upgraded using Ciena’s GeoMesh Solution powered by the 6500 Packet-Optical Platform and WaveLogic Ai technology providing 300Gbps of capacity on the cable system and supporting an upgrade path to 5Tbps of total capacity. Originally deployed in 2009, the Honotua cable is a 4,500km system interconnecting several islands of French Polynesia from Tahiti to Hawaii.

Globe, in partnership with Eastern Communications and InfiniVAN, has commissioned NTT World Engineering Marine (NTT WE Marine) for the last leg of the USD150 million Philippine Domestic Submarine Cable Network (PDSCN) 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 president of the National Communications Authority (ANACOM) has confirmed that Altice Portugal will maintain the submarine cables connecting mainland Portugal and the autonomous regions of Azores and Madeira (CAM) until the end of 2028, local news source Lusa writes. In November 2022 the Portuguese government authorised Infraestruturas de Portugal to launch pre-contractual and contractual procedures necessary for the replacement of the submarine cables, with Resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 104/2022. The new submarine CAM ring will have six pairs of fibre-optic cables in all segments, complemented by a pair of fibre from Madeira. Infraestruturas de Portugal will undertake and promote the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the submarine cable system between the territory of mainland Portugal and the CAM, while IP Telecom will carry out the integrated management of the cables that may be installed, under a sub-concession regime.

Four out of five operational submarine cables connecting Vietnam to the rest of the world are currently experiencing issues, seriously affecting performance and reliability of internet links in the country. Two international cables, Asia-America Gateway (AAG) and Asia Pacific Gateway (APG), are out of service at the moment, while the Asia Africa Europe 1 (AAE-1) and the Tata-TGN Intra Asia (IA) systems are suffering faults near Hong Kong and Singapore respectively. A representative from Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) told news source Vietnam Plus that the provider was actively deploying measures to mitigate the issues, including sharing data loads between available international lines and optimising traffic on different cables.

Millicom (Tigo) has announced the deployment and commissioning of two new terrestrial routes across the Bolivia and Paraguay border, directly connecting these countries for the first time and enabling a direct connection from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The new redundant 1,000km fibre buildout with scalable capacities is part of the development of the Bioceanic Corridor, a digital road project between Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru and Chile that covers over 3,700km and connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean across South America. The new routes add to Tigo’s existing rings of fully owned networks in Bolivia and Paraguay and connect to Tigo’s PoPs in Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

Liquid Intelligent Technologies (LIT) has partnered with Nokia to deploy its transport network technology for the new 16,576km terrestrial fibre route connecting Mombasa (Kenya) to Johannesburg (South Africa). This announcement comes in light of the imminent launch of the new terrestrial data superhighway built by LIT. The technology used has allowed LIT to build its first terrestrial route that will provide 12Tbps of capacity for carriers and service providers in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Fibre-optic network services provider Uniti Group has signed a long-term contract with an unnamed ‘large global internet provider’ for long-haul dark fibre connectivity. The deal will enable connection among data centres in twelve cities in Central and Southeastern US. The contract covers a combined 3,100 route miles over several links that will connect internet traffic aggregation points and key infrastructure hubs.

Telecom Italia (TIM) has received a non-binding bid for a controlling stake in its fixed line network from US fund KKR, Reuters writes. After a meeting earlier this week over KKR’s approach, TIM said its board would regroup on 24 February to decide over the proposal, without providing further details over its terms. A source close to the matter said the offer valued the unit ‘north of’ EUR20 billion (USD22 billion).

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The Submarine Cable Map is a free and regularly updated online resource from TeleGeography. Learn more about our range of maps and sponsorship opportunities over here. For more research on long-haul networks and submarine cables, peruse our Global Bandwidth Research Service.

Bolivia, French Polynesia, Italy, Kenya, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Vietnam, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Altice Portugal (MEO), Autoridade Nacional de Comunicacoes (ANACOM), Ciena Corporation, Eastern Communications, Globe Telecom (incl. Innove), InfiniVAN, Liquid Intelligent Technologies (LIT), Nokia, Office des Postes et Telecommunications (OPT), Telecom Italia (TIM), Uniti Group, Vini, VNPT-Vinaphone

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