NEC sets live 40Tbps South Atlantic subsea cable

The subsea cable connects Angola in Africa with Brazil in South America, with an initial design capacity of 40Tbps across four fibre pairs.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

NEC has announced setting live the world's first subsea cable system across the South Atlantic Ocean, with the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) directly connecting Angola and Brazil.

SACS is owned by Angola Cables, and has an initial design capacity of 40Tbps across four fibre pairs.

It will land at Sangano, near the Angolan capital of Luanda, and at a new datacentre in Fortaleza, Brazil. Both datacentres are operated by Angola Cables, which is also majority owner of the Brazilian datacentre.

"Our ambition is to transport South American and Asian data packets via our African hub using SACS, and, together with Monet and the WACS [West Africa Cable System], provide a more efficient direct connectivity option between North, Central, and South America onto Africa, Europe, and Asia," Angola Cables CEO Antonio Nunes said.

"By developing and connecting ecosystems that allow for local IP traffic to be exchanged locally and regionally, the efficiency of networks that are serving the Southern Hemisphere can be vastly improved. As these developments progress, they will have considerable impact for the future growth and configuration of the global internet."

Including SACS, NEC said it has now laid over 250,000km of subsea cable globally.

In July, the company was also chosen to build out a submarine cable between Chennai and the Indian islands of Andaman and Nicobar, after winning a contract from Indian government enterprise Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

Under the purchase order, NEC Technologies India will be responsible for designing, engineering, supplying, installing, testing, and implementing the telecommunications submarine cable system. Parent company NEC Corporation will manufacture the optical cable and assist with installation.

The 2,300km cable will land in Chennai, Rangat, Long Island, Havelock, Port Blair, Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, and Great Nicobar, with capacity to carry 100Gbps optical waves.

Earlier that month, NEC also announced being chosen to construct the new 16,000km Bay to Bay Express Cable System (BtoBE), which is being funded by a consortium including Facebook, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and China Mobile International to connect Singapore and Hong Kong with the United States.

NEC said the subsea cable system, consisting of multiple pairs of optical fibre, will be constructed using "the most advanced optical submarine transmission equipment" to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay and San Francisco Bay areas.

"The BtoBE, landing at three locations spanning across the Pacific Ocean, is designed so that once completed, it can carry at least 18Tbs of capacity per fibre pair," NEC Corporation general manager of the Submarine Network Division Toru Kawauchi said.

BtoBE is slated to be complete by Q4 in 2020, and will cover the longest distance without regeneration, according to NEC.

In March, NEC was also signed to construct the 10,500km 144Tbps Southeast Asia Japan 2 cable (SJC2), which will have 11 landing stations in Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.

NEC has also been working on subsea cable technology to produce faster speeds and lower latency, in May demonstrating artificial intelligence (AI) tech that it said could upgrade the spectral efficiency across the FASTER subsea cable system to 6 bits per second per hertz for a capacity of more than 26Tbps -- over two and a half times the capacity originally planned, at no additional wet plant capex.

The 10,000km FASTER subsea cable system will also connect the west coast of the United States with Asia, landing in Japan and consisting of six fibre pairs and making use of 10Gbps wave technology.

The announcement followed NEC last year demonstrating 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.

NEC last year additionally commenced construction of three 100Gbps subsea cable links to provide connectivity to Palau, Yap, and Chuuk islands in partnership with Belau Submarine Cable Corporation and the Micronesian government, along with the 3,900km, 100Gbps Hong Kong-Guam subsea cable system back in 2016, due to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019 with a design capacity of almost 50Tbps.

Subsea cables across the globe

  • Vocus' Australia-Singapore Cable (ASC)
  • Vocus' North West Cable System (NWCS) between Darwin and Port Hedland, and the new Tiwi Islands spur being added
  • The Australian government's Coral Sea subsea cable, being constructed by Vocus to connect Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands and funded through the foreign aid budget
  • Google's Dunant transatlantic subsea cable between Virginia Beach in the United States to the French Atlantic coast
  • The Indigo subsea cable system
  • The Indian government's Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar islands subsea cable, being built by NEC
  • Southern Cross Cables' NEXT subsea cable system between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, being built by SubPartners
  • The Trident subsea cable system connecting Perth with Singapore via Indonesia
  • The Jupiter subsea cable connecting the US, Japan, and the Philippines and being built by a consortium including Facebook, Amazon, SoftBank, NTT Com, PLDT, and PCCW
  • The Hawaiki subsea cable between Australia, New Zealand, and the US
  • Superloop's Hong Kong cable
  • Telstra's Hong Kong Americas (HKA) cable between Hong Kong and the US
  • Telstra's Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) between Hong Kong and the US
  • Google's Japan-Guam-Australia (JGA) cable system
  • The Asia-Pacific Gateway (APG) subsea cable connecting China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore, owned by a consortium including China Telecom, China Unicom, China Mobile, NTT Communications, KT Corporation, LG Uplus, StarHub, Chunghwa Telecom, CAT, Global Transit Communications, Viettel, and VNPT, and being constructed by NEC
  • The Southeast Asia Japan 2 cable (SJC2), which will have 11 landing stations in Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, being built by NEC and funded by a consortium including China Mobile International, Chunghwa Telecom, Chuan Wei, Facebook, KDDI, Singtel, SK Broadband, and VNPT
  • The Bay to Bay Express Cable System (BtoBE), connecting Singapore and Hong Kong with the US, being funded by consortium including Facebook, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and China Mobile International, and being built by NEC
Editorial standards