Facebook, Amazon, SoftBank, NTT sign on for 60Tbps Jupiter subsea cable

A consortium of tech companies will be building out yet another Asia-Pacific subsea cable, with the 60Tbps Jupiter cable system to connect the US with Japan and the Philippines.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor
(Image: Jupiter consortium)

NTT Com has announced that it will be building an Asia-Pacific submarine cable system connecting the United States, Japan, and the Philippines in partnership with Facebook, Amazon, SoftBank, PLDT, and PCCW Global.

According to the consortium, the Jupiter subsea cable has an initial design capacity of 60Tbps that can be improved in future.

Jupiter will be a 400Gbps wavelength-division multiplex (WDM) transmission system, with submersible reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM) and wavelength selective switch (WSS), which the consortium said will make it the fastest cable system connecting Japan with the US.

"Jupiter will deploy branching units working with WSS ROADM for fast and flexible remote switching of transmission routes. Transmission routes will be quickly switchable to ensure business continuity, including in the event of a natural disaster or other unexpected problem in coastal areas of Japan," the consortium explained.

The cable, which will be 14,000 kilometres long, will have landing stations in Hermosa Beach, California; Shima, Japan; Maruyama, Japan; and Daet, Philippines, as well as connecting the Minamiboso Landing Station with datacentres in Tokyo and the Shima Landing Station with datacentres in Osaka via fibre-optic cable.

It will connect to NTT's other cable systems in the region -- the Asia-Pacific Gateway (APG), the Asia Submarine cable Express (ASE), and the Pacific Crossing-1 (PC-1) -- to provide greater redundancy for end users.

The consortium has selected TE SubCom to install the cable system.

"The demand for bandwidth in the Pacific region continues to grow at a remarkable rate ... Jupiter will provide the necessary diversity of connections and the highest capacity available to meet the needs of the evolving marketplace," said SoftBank GM and co-chair of the Jupiter consortium Koji Ishii.

"TE SubCom has a proven record of success in the design and implementation of innovative, scalable, and robust transoceanic cable systems, making the company the most reliable choice for the Jupiter supply partner."

Jupiter is expected to launch in early 2020.

Telecommunications carriers and consortiums have been racing to build out subsea cable capacity across the Asia-Pacific region, driven by the rapid increase in data usage globally. These cables include Superloop's Indigo; the Trident Subsea Cable; Vocus Communications' Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) and North West Cable System (NWCS); Southern Cross Cable Network's NEXT cable; the Hawaiki cable; the APG; the FASTER cable; and Superloop's Hong Kong cable.

The Indigo system connecting Sydney, Perth, Singapore, and Jakarta is being built by SubPartners, Superloop, Google, Singtel, Telstra, AARNet, Indosat Ooredoo, and Alcatel Submarine Networks, spanning around 9,000km with two fibre pairs and a design capacity of 18Tbps, and is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

The 28Tbps two-pair fibre-optic, 1,070-kilometre Trident subsea cable, meanwhile, will connect Singapore, Indonesia, and Australia, with the entire cable to be complete by the second quarter of 2018. It utilises 100Gbps coherent dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology, which is upgradeable to 400Gbps.

Originally a 50-50 joint-venture deal between Vocus and Nextgen Networks, the 4,600km ASC cable will also connect Perth with Singapore and Indonesia, with services set to launch in July 2018 at a cost of $170 million. A deal signed between Vocus and Nextgen Networks in November 2015 pinned the cost of the cable at around $120 million.

Vocus subsequently purchased Nextgen Networks for AU$700 million in 2016, with Vocus and Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks in December signing an agreement to build the ASC, which is designed to carry 40Tbps at a minimum.

Trident, Indigo, and the ASC are all aimed at replacing the slower-speed SMW3 cable, which currently carries data traffic between Australia and Singapore.

Vocus also owns the NWCS following its purchase of Nextgen Networks, which was activated by Nextgen Group and Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks in September last year. The $139 million 2,100km fibre-optic submarine cable connects Darwin and Port Hedland, and has been integrated into Nextgen's 17,000km land-based transmission network.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, the 30Tbps, 14,000km Hawaiki cable -- which commenced construction in April last year -- will connect Australia and New Zealand to Hawaii and the West Coast of the US, with the option to extend to several South Pacific islands along the route via optical add/drop multiplexing nodes, by mid-2018.

The 60Tbps $350 million NEXT cable connecting the US, Australia, and New Zealand in August completed its seafloor survey, with eight customers -- including the Pacific islands of Fiji, Samoa, Tokelau, and Kiribati -- having signed intent to use the cable. It will select vendors at the end of 2017.

The 10,000km FASTER subsea cable system will also connect the West Coast of the US with Asia, landing in Japan and consisting of six fibre pairs and 10Gbps wave technology.

NEC last year also completed the 54Tbps APG subsea cable between China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore. The 10,900km fibre-optic cable is owned by a consortium of telecommunications carriers including China's China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile; Japan's NTT Communications; South Korea's KT Corporation and LG Uplus; Singapore's StarHub; Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom; Thailand's CAT; Malaysia's Global Transit Communications; and Vietnam's Viettel and VNPT.

In May, NEC then demonstrated speeds of 50.9Tbps across subsea cables of up to 11,000km on a single optical fibre through the use of C+L-band erbium-doped optical fibre amplifiers, amounting to speeds of 570 petabits per second-kilometre.

Australia's incumbent telco Telstra acquired a 36,000km cable network system connecting China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines as part of purchasing Pacnet for $697 million in December 2014, and in 2016 announced the Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG) 8,000km 100Gbps submarine cable system, made up of three fibre pairs to connect Singapore, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

Asia-Pacific fibre infrastructure company Superloop has also constructed a 1,728 fibre core Hong Kong subsea cable, TKO Express, which connects Chai Wan on Hong Kong Island and Tseung Kwan O (TKO) Industrial Estate -- Hong Kong's technology, datacentre, financial, and media hub, which also hosts submarine cable landing stations -- on the mainland.

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