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

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26 May 2023

Saudi Telecom Company’s (stc’s) infrastructure unit Center3, on behalf of the EMC Subsea Cable Company (EMC Company) consortium has inked a supplier contract with Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) for the construction of two submarine and terrestrial cables, known as EMC West. The two new systems will connect Saudi Arabia with Europe, forming part of the larger EMC System. The second phase of the EMC System (EMC Global) that will connect Saudi Arabia with Asia is in the process of being confirmed and will be announced in due course. The EMC West system will link Haql (Saudi Arabia) with Genova (Italy) and Marseille (France) via Cyprus and Greece (with branches in Crete and Athens). The EMC system is expected to be certified ready for service (RFS) by Q1 2026.

The Natitua Sud submarine fibre-optic cable aiming to link Tahiti to the Austral archipelago has landed in Tubuai, following a successful landing in Rurutu. The submarine cable system will have a total length of 800km and be installed at a depth of 6,000 metres, writes. The Natitua Sud system was deployed in four sections, which were connected and submerged after their launch, making it easier to isolate the defective segment in the event of a breakdown. The cost of connecting the Austral archipelago via a submarine network is estimated at XPF3 billion (USD72 million), with 80% provided by French Polynesia and the remaining 20% financed by the Office of Post and Telecommunications (Office des Postes et Telecommunications, OPT). In addition to the OPT, several companies took part in the installation of the submarine network, including Onati (Vini), OMS, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) and Ti’aimoana. The system is expected to enter commercial service in July 2023.

The Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector is reviewing an application from Global Crossing Telecommunications (GCTI) to renew the cable landing licence for the Atlantic Crossing 1 (AC-1) submarine cable to allow the continued operation of the system for an additional 25-year term. AC-1 is a non-common carrier system which entered services in May 1998, connecting Shirley (New York) with Sylt (Germany), Beverwijk (the Netherlands) and Whitesand Bay (UK). It currently provides 4.9Tbps of lit capacity, with a potential of 9.6Tbps. On 2 November 2022 GCTI’s parent corporation Lumen and Colt Technology Services entered into an exclusive arrangement for the proposed sale of Lumen’s EMEA telecoms business to Colt for USD1.8 billion. Under the agreement, Colt will purchase the equity and (where applicable) assets of Lumen’s EMEA telecoms companies. As part of the agreement, Colt will also acquire the US submarine and landing station assets that comprise the AC-1 and Yellow cable systems. GCTI affirms, however, that the renewal requested in this application is not dependent on approval or consummation of the proposed transaction with Colt.

HUB Advanced Networks (HUB), Compania Dominicana de Telefonos (CODETEL), Altice Dominicana, Servicio di Telecomunicacion di Aruba (SETAR) and Cable & Wireless (EWC) have submitted an application to renew the cable landing licence of the Antillas-1 Cable System (Antillas-1) to authorise the continued operation of the system for an additional 25-year term following the expiration date of the current licence on 1 May 2022. The system is a 650km fibre-optic submarine cable located in the Caribbean Sea between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, with landing sites in Isla Verde (Puerto Rico, US) and Punta Cana and Cacique (the Dominican Republic). The Antillas-1 Submarine Cable was originally designed to consist of six fibre pairs with each fibre carrying four 155Mbps Basic System Modules (BSM) containing 63 Minimum Investment Units (MIUs) each, for a total capacity per fibre pair of 252 MIUs.

Farice is leveraging Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme submarine network solution, powered by WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optics, to support its recently launched IRIS cable system connecting southwest Iceland to Galway (Ireland), with onward connectivity to the UK, Denmark, and the Nordics. The 1,700km submarine cable is the third to connect Iceland to Europe, providing redundancy to Farice’s other submarine systems, FARICE-1 and DANICE. The IRIS cable system, which went live on 1 March 2023, is a six-fibre pair trunk delivering 22Tbps per fibre pair, for a total capacity of 132Tbps. For IRIS, Farice deployed Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, powered by WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optics, and Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller. Ciena Services also provided consulting, systems integration, training and optimisation. Additionally, Ciena assisted Farice with upgrading terrestrial routes in Iceland for IRIS and DANICE to a protected ring system with a fast restoration using a ROADM-based GeoMesh Extreme architecture; DANICE was also updated to WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optics.

The fault found in Branch S1I of the America Asia Gateway (AAG) submarine cable has now been fixed, restoring internet data traffic between Vietnam and Hong Kong (China), according to the Department of Telecommunications under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC). Earlier this month, the repair of two international undersea cables – Tata-TGN Intra Asia (IA) and SeaMeWe3 – was completed, while the fault that occurred at the end of November 2022 on Segment S1H of the Asia Africa Europe 1 (AAE-1) system was repaired on 20 May. The remaining issues experienced on the S1B, S1D, and S1G branches of the AAG system are expected to be fixed by the end of this month, while the repair of the Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) is currently slated for next month.

The owners of a ship that caused damage to the domestic submarine cable in the Solomon Islands are set to face charges, SBM Online writes. The incident, which took place on 12 May 2023 when the ship’s anchor damaged the cable system, led to disruption in Malaita and the Western and Choiseul Provinces. The ship has now been detained, while its master and owner will be prosecuted. The ship contracted to repair the cable is currently scheduled to arrive at destination on 20 June.

US President Joseph Biden, Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Japanese PM Kishida Fumio and India’s PM Narendra Modi have met this month for the fifth convening of the Quad Leaders’ Summit, committed to supporting major initiatives on infrastructure, maritime security, public-private partnerships and emerging technologies. Regarding submarine cable connectivity, the officials agreed to bring together public and private sector actors to address gaps in the infrastructure and coordinate on future builds. Under this partnership, Australia will establish a new Indo-Pacific Cable Connectivity and Resilience Program to share best practice and provide technical assistance to Indo-Pacific governments. The US is providing technical assistance and capacity building on the security of submarine cable systems through its USD5 million CABLES programme.

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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 Transport Networks Research Service.

Cyprus, Dominican Republic, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), Altice Dominicana, Center3, Ciena Corporation, Claro Dominicana (Codetel), Colt Technology Services Group, Farice, Lumen Technologies (incl. Quantum Fiber/CenturyLink), Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), Office des Postes et Telecommunications (OPT), Saudi Telecom Company (stc), SETAR, Vini

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