Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs has signed a deal with the Vocus Group for the initial stages of a new undersea cable system between the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Australia, displacing Huawei, which had been originally chosen but resulted in concerns over security matters.
Per multiple media reports, a statement from the Vocus Group—which did not mention Huawei—said that the agreement is a $2.8 million deal for conducting a scoping study for the design, construction and procurement of the submarine cable system, the first step of the project. Vocus designed and developed the North-West Cable System and the Australia-Singapore Cable, the latter project was still under construction while the former project was up and running.
As previously reported in WJI, the Solomon Islands and China’s Huawei announced last year that they had signed a contract for the prosubsea ject. That news was not well received as Huawei had been banned from tendering for the National Broadband Network in 2012 because of security concerns. In Australia, nearly six years ago, Huawei was denied any role in supplying equipment to the country’s national broadband network project, following advice by ASIS, one of Australia’s spy agencies.
With its focus literally in "the cloud," Google announced its role in three subsea cables projects: Curie, a private cable connecting Chile to Los Angeles; Havfrue, a consortium cable connecting the United States to Denmark and Ireland; and the Hong Kong-Guam Cable system (HK-G), a consortium cable interconnecting major subsea communication hubs in Asia.
Google, which notes that it has invested $30 billion in infrastructure the last three years as it continues to expand the regions it serves, reports that it is part of 11 cable projects that are either planned or under construction.
With Curie, named after scientist Marie Curie, Google will become the first major non-telecom company to build a private intercontinental cable. It will serve Google users across Latin America. The four fiber-pair network to be supplied by TE SubCom will span over 10,000 km, linking Los Angeles to Valparaiso, Chile, per a report at Teleography.com. It will also include a branching unit for future connectivity to Panama."
TE SubCom, a business of TE Connectivity, Ltd., will also be the supplier for the Havfrue cable project, one of the other two cable systems. Other participants include Aqua Comms, Bulk Infrastructure, Facebook, and others. The undersea cable network between the U.S. and Northern Europe would be ready for service in the last quarter of 2019. It will offer a cross-sectional cable capacity of 108 Tbps, scalable to higher capacities via future generation Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) technology. The cable will run from New Jersey to the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark. A branch will add connectivity to County Mayo, Ireland, and optional branches to Northern and Southern Norway can also be added.
At its website, Aqua Comms reported that the Havfrue subsea cable will be the first new undersea cable in nearly two decades to traverse the North Atlantic to connect mainland Northern Europe to the U.S. The company said that it would serve as system operator. It plans to market its portion of the Hafvrue submarine cable as America Europe Connect-2 (AEC-2); it operates America Europe Connect-1 (AEC-1, also known as AEConnect). Route survey operations for the system have begun.
The second consortium venture, HK-G, saw construction begin last April of the 3,900-km undersea cable from NEC Corporation. It will feature 100 Gbps optical transmission capabilities, and have a design capacity of more than 48 Tbps. It is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019. HK-G will land in Tseung Kwan O (TKO) in Hong Kong and in Piti, Guam, at the Teleguam Holdings LLC (GTA) cable landing station, the same facility which being used for SEA-US.