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

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19 May 2023

Google has applied for a licence to construct, land, and operate a private fibre-optic network connecting the US with Taiwan, the Philippines and Guam. The 13,470km Taiwan-Philippines-US (TPU) submarine cable system features a total design capacity of 260Tbps and will comprise four segments: Transpacific Segment, Taiwan Segment, Philippines Segment, and Guam Segment, along with five unused branching units. The 12,500km Transpacific Segment will stretch from EdgeConneX’s multi-tenant ACV01 facility in Eureka (California, US) to a branching unit (BU1) in the Philippine Sea between Taiwan and the Philippines; it will feature 16 fibre pairs. The 320km Taiwan Segment of the TPU cable will connect Dawu (Taiwan) to BU1; it will contain the equivalent of 20 fibre pairs (twelve standard fibre pairs along with four two-core fiber pairs). Of the total, 16 fibre pairs will connect Taiwan to the Transpacific Segment and four fibre pairs will connect Taiwan to the Philippines. Chunghwa Telecom will serve as the landing party and cable landing station (CLS) owner at a new facility in Dawu. The 520km Philippines Segment will connect Claveria (Philippines) to BU1; of the total 20 fibre pairs, 16 fibre pairs will connect the Philippines to the Transpacific Segment and four fibre pairs will connect the Philippines to Taiwan. Innove Communications, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom, will serve as the landing party and CLS owner at a new facility in Claveria. The 130km Guam Segment will connect Tanguisson (Guam) to the BU4 on the Transpacific Segment and will feature 16 fibre pairs; Google will be the landing party in Tanguisson, with the CLS located at an existing facility owned by AT&T. Google is aiming to begin construction work in March 2024, with a target ready for service (RFS) date set for May 2025.

Tamares Telecom and Grid Telecom, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) of Greece, have agreed to construct a new submarine cable system connecting Greece, Cyprus and Israel called ANDROMEDA. The ANDROMEDA system will connect the three countries through an alternative low latency path between Europe and the Middle East, extending through additional submarine and terrestrial links westwards to the Balkans and other destinations in Central and Western Europe, and eastwards to the Arabian Peninsula and other destinations. Tamares Telecom also owns and operates TAMARES-NORTH, a high-capacity submarine cable system between Israel and Cyprus, with extensions to multiple international destinations.

Beyon has announced a major investment of more than USD250 million in digital infrastructure in order to support the acceleration of Bahrain’s digital transformation strategy. To that end, Batelco (part of the Beyon group) has joined the SeaMeWe-6 consortium, which is aiming to build a 21,700km submarine cable system connecting Bahrain with 14 other countries. The SeaMeWe-6 system will feature capacity of 100Tbps and will offer ‘one of the lowest latencies available between the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Western Europe’. Additionally, Batelco is investing in the construction of a regional submarine cable – the Al Khaleej Cable – which the company will fully own. The system will extend from Bahrain to other regional countries including Oman, UAE and Qatar. Both cables (SeaMeWe-6 and Al Khaleej Cable) will land at Beyon’s new Beyon Data Oasis data centre located in the south of Bahrain.

Angola Cables and Orange have inked an infrastructure sharing agreement on Djoliba, a pan-African terrestrial and submarine backbone network linking eight countries. The expansion of infrastructure combining the Djoliba terrestrial end-to-end fibre-optic network and Angola Cables’ global network of WACS, SACS and MONET subsea cables will give users secure, low latency connectivity (and additional redundancy options) to multiple destinations in South America, the US and Europe. The Djoliba network (launched in 2020) covers eight countries: Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal, and is ‘natively interconnected with the domestic networks within these countries.’ It boasts 16 PoPs with a grid of nearly 155 technical sites, and comprises 10,000km of terrestrial fibre and 10,000km of submarine networks, according to Orange.

Quantum Loophole has completed its North Potomac River Bore crossing, the second of two Potomac River crossings for the QLoop network conduit system. QLoop is a 64km hyperscale fibre ring connecting Quantum Loophole’s Quantum Frederick data centre development site in Maryland to Northern Virginia’s Data Centre Ecosystem. The first Potomac River crossing to the South from the Leesburg (Virginia) to Maryland, which began in August 2022 was 1.1km long and was completed in December 2022. Deployment of the second Potomac River crossing began in December 2022 between Leesburg and the Point of Rocks Bridge; it is 1km long and was completed in May 2023.

The case against a Maersk ship captain accused of causing damage to the Australia Singapore Cable (ASC), which was cut on 1 August 2021 ‘around 18km from the Perth landing station’, has been discontinued. The fault was experienced within the Perth protection zone, with damages estimated at around AUD1.5 million (USD1 million). The Australian Federal Police arrested the Master of the Maersk Surabaya container ship for allegedly engaging in negligent conduct in September 2021.

MTN Group’s wholesale and infrastructure services firm Bayobab has signed a partnership agreement with infrastructure investment fund Africa50 to develop Project East2West, a terrestrial fibre-optic network connecting the east and west coasts of Africa. The partnership will invest up to USD320 million to connect ten African countries by 2025.

International network services provider RETN has completed the second phase of its Budapest (Hungary) to Sofia (Bulgaria) ring, achieving ‘100% network diversity from Budapest in Hungary to Sofia in Bulgaria via Romania’. The new Budapest BIX-Timisoara-Sofia Equinix SO2 route spans a total distance of 1,080km and compliments the Budapest Dataplex-Belgrade- Sofia Telepoint route, which was announced in October 2022. Both routes terminate in different data centres at both ends – BIX and Dataplex in Budapest and Equinix and Telepoint in Sofia. RETN is utilising the latest generation of Infinera equipment for both line and transponders and has also upgraded its IP/MPLS equipment at Belgrade and Sofia with Juniper’s MX10008, offering quicker delivery times and bandwidths up to 400G across all RETN services.

Liquid Dataport, a unit of pan-African technology group Cassava Technologies, has announced a terrestrial fibre-optic link connecting Mombasa (Kenya) to Johannesburg (South Africa). This new route, including a unique fibre link across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between Goma and Kananga, provides multiple landlocked countries with extra redundancy and an alternative option in the event of a submarine cable outage between Kenya and South Africa. The new route will connect South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the DRC.

Infinera and Liberty Networks have deployed Infinera’s ICE6 800G coherent solution to upgrade and expand the capacity of Liberty Networks’ Florida Transport Network (FTN). This network enhancement enables Liberty Networks to offer 400GbE services. Leveraging Infinera’s ICE6 technology will also provide Liberty Networks with C+L-band capabilities, enabling Liberty Networks to increase its initial design capacity. Liberty Networks owns and operates a subsea multi-ring fibre-optic network in Latin America and the Caribbean, spanning nearly 50,000km, in addition to 17,000km of terrestrial fibre.

Infinera has announced the successful completion of a live network trial with Hawe Telekom leveraging Infinera’s ICE6 800G coherent solution. The trial, conducted on Hawe Telekom’s Warsaw-Poznan-Frankfurt route, validates Hawe Telekom’s readiness to provide high-bandwidth wholesale services to operators in Poland and interconnections to neighboring countries. In the trial, Infinera’s ICE6 technology delivered high-performance 600G, 700G, and 800G transmissions on Hawe Telekom’s national and international routes over the existing optical line system. Hawe Telekom owns and operates the Hawe Telekom National Fibre-Optic Network spanning approximately 4,000km throughout Poland.

CBC Tech, a provider of next-generation Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) in more than 30 markets, have inked a partnership agreement with Zenlayer, which will enable CBC Tech to extend the reach of eNet Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) Connect from the current 25 PoPs to 50 worldwide over its global footprint.

C&W Networks and C&W Business in Latin America have revealed that the two organizations will merge under the unified Liberty Networks brand. As part of Liberty Latin America (LLA), Liberty Networks will focus on the continued development of its critical infrastructure platform serving carriers, hyper-scalers and enterprise segments in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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