|Sub Cable World NewsFeed for September 7, 2010|
|Submarine Cable NewsFeed - Daily Review|
|Monday, 06 September 2010 19:48|
Contract Awards Jump in August, Early September
African submarine fiber optic cable projects have represented a huge market for submarine cable suppliers in the past three years. No fewer than eight large international cable projects have been completed in the 13 months or are currently under construction (ACE, EASSy, Glo-1, LION, Main One, SEACOM, TEAMS and WACS).
Africa continues to dominate in this year’s new contract awards. Half of the year’s awards, representing more than three-quarters of the total route-kilometers awarded, involve projects serving or related to Sub-Saharan Africa.
Normally, we only count one month at a time, but this time we are jumping ahead into September. The reason for this is that two new projects were awarded in early September, before we could run the totals for August.
The new contracts include an extension to the West Africa Cable System from Portugal to the United Kingdom, which was announced in August, and the two eFive Telecom projects. All three were awarded to Alcatel-Lucent.
This flurry of new announcements brings the total for the year to 10 contract awards and nearly 40,000 route-kilometers of submarine fiber optic cable.
The table below lists the contracts from January through early September.
Southern Cross Holds Up During New Zealand Earthquake
Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-largest city, suffered a 7.4 magnitude earthquake on the morning to September 4, which caused significant property damage and power outages. The country’s telecom infrastructure, however, appears to have come through intact.
New Zealand’s only international submarine fiber optic cable, Southern Cross, does not appear to have been damaged by the quake and most of the domestic telecom infrastructure remains intact, although in some areas it is crippled by the power outages, which is forcing carriers to rely on battery power for electricity.
Telecom New Zealand, the country’s leading carrier, reported on September 6 that its fixed line infrastructure is performing well, as are both of its mobile networks. The company also said that it has obtained enough back-up generators and diesel to maintain core services, regardless of the availability of the main power grid, and continues to attempt to access sites as soon as possible, subject to damage and civil defense requirements.
Telecom’s payphone network is powered separately from the main grid and is fully functional. The carrier has made the payphone network available free of charge during the crisis.
Meanwhile, government-owned telecom and media company Kordia reports that while its network remained intact, the earthquake points out the need for alternate communication infrastructure.
“In emergency situations, telecommunications infrastructure can be destabilized or easily overloaded,” says Drew Gilpin, Kordia’s GM of Sales & Marketing. “While those services are being restored, the very real need for a device that enables easy team communications, and is not inhibited by operational outages, is paramount.”
African Carriers Deploying Fiber Backbones
Now that the east coast of Africa has been connected to the global fiber optic network, countries are building out their domestic fiber optic backbones.
In Rwanda, the government reports that construction of its fiber optic backbone has been 50% completed. Of the planned 2,300-kilometer backbone, two major regional links from the capital of Kigali to Gatuna and Rusumo are finished and two more regional routes, linking Kigali with Kanyaru and Rubavu will be completed by the end of this month.
All civil works and deployment of the fiber will be ready by the end of December, with the entire network e fully operational by April 2011.
Meanwhile, the first phase of Tanzania’s 10,674-kilometer national fiber-optic backbone has been completed, connecting Dar es Salaam with towns and cities in northern and eastern Tanzania, and to neighboring Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda.
The completion of the fiber network closes a significant gap in the East African fiber ring connecting to the SEACOM, TEAMS and EASSy submarine cables and running from Mombasa (Kenya) through Nairobi (Kenya), Kampala (Uganda), Kigali (Rwanda), and Bujumbura (Burundi) to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).
Tanzania Telecommunications Co Ltd (TTCL), the incumbent fixed-line operator, has been mandated to manage the national fiber-optic backbone.
With the first phase of 7,000 kilometers of network completed, the government is embarking on the second phase, which will connect southern and eastern towns and cities to the neighboring countries of Zambia and Malawi.