Monday, July 11, 2022

Zayo activates 192-fiber subsea route between UK and Netherlands

Zayo activated its new Zeus subsea route connecting Lowestoft, UK and Zandvoort, Netherlands. 

At 192 fibres, Zeus contains the highest fibre count connecting the UK and mainland Europe -- the most dense, deeply-buried and robust cable available in the North Sea. Zayo utilized Ultra Low Loss (ULL) optical fibres, so wavelength throughput on a single channel between London and Amsterdam can reach up to 600G. Zeus offers a full C-band capacity of 2.65 petabits per second (Pbps) and C+L Band of 5.2 Pbps. Corning supplied the SMF-28 fiber.

The cable is buried between 2 and 3 metres under the seabed in comparison with half a metre for existing, outdated cables. The cable is guaranteed to be 100% dual-armored – all the way through the joints – to prevent interference. To ensure an optimal customer experience, Zayo continuously monitors Zeus via OTDR devices for rapid fault identification. In addition, Zayo will be leveraging a 24 X 7 guard vessel to monitor any activity along the path.

“Meeting the connectivity needs of tomorrow requires deploying the most advanced network today, and that’s exactly what we’ve built for customers who want a hyper-fast and ultra-reliable connection between the UK and mainland Europe,” said Jesper Aagaard, president of Zayo Europe. “Zeus is now the strongest connection available in the region. We utilized the best cable available, buried it deeper in the seabed than our competitors and made it even more reliable than alternatives. We are confident our customers will benefit from this project for years- and even decades- to come.”

“The North Sea is an extremely challenging body of water for a subsea project like Zeus. Not only are there harsh weather conditions and relentless currents, the seabed is littered with items, some as simple as a discarded aluminum can and some as formidable as unexploded bombs left over from the Second World War,” said Geir Holmer, CEO of JTD Associates and a key consultant on the project. “Not only did we overcome these challenges, we worked tirelessly with Zayo to ensure this route was built to last – making it the most resilient route across the North Sea. I’m proud to have been part of this project, and what it will enable.”

As part of the project, the team worked with the Royal Netherlands Navy to detonate a large, 80- year-old explosive that had been left on the seabed since World War II. The team also put sustainability first, working to limit disruption and preserve the ecology of the sea.

Testing planned for 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks

Ericsson, Thales, and Qualcomm Technologies will conduct smartphone-use-case-focused testing and validation of 5G non-terrestrial networks (5G NTN). The goal of the testing will be to validate various technology components needed to enable 5G non-terrestrial networks, including a 5G smartphone, satellite payload and 5G network pieces on the ground.

The benefits of 5G connectivity via low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are expected to include coverage in extreme geographies or remote areas across seas, oceans and other locations where terrestrial coverage is absent.

Ericsson plans to verify a 5G virtual RAN (vRAN) stack, modified to handle radio signals propagating (what happens to 5G radio waves travelling through the vacuum of space and the Earth’s atmosphere) via the fast-moving LEO satellites.

The testing follows the March 2022 go-ahead by 3GPP to support non-terrestrial networks for the first time.

Erik Ekudden, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Ericsson, says: “This testing and validation cooperation between Ericsson, Thales and Qualcomm Technologies will be a major milestone in the history of communications as the ultimate result could effectively mean that no matter where you are on Earth – in the middle of an ocean or the remotest forest – high-end, secure and cost-effective connectivity will be available through collaborative 5G satellite and terrestrial connectivity.”

Nokia to lead German 6G-ANNA Lighthouse project

Nokia has been selected to lead 6G-ANNA, a German national-funded 6G lighthouse project.

Nokia will collaborate with the 29 partners in 6G-ANNA to lead and drive 6G research and standardization. In particular, Nokia will work closely with the consortium, which includes partners from industry, subject matter experts, start-ups, research institutes and distinguished universities in Germany.

Within 6G-ANNA, Nokia will focus on designing an end-to-end 6G architecture and work with other project partners on three key technology areas: 6G access, network of networks, and automation and simplification. Selected topics such as sub-networks, XR, and real-time digital twinning will be implemented and presented as proof of concepts.

The 6G-ANNA project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF), with an aim of strengthening and pushing German and European 6G agendas and driving global pre-standardization activities from a German and European perspective. 

6G-ANNA is part of the larger “6G Platform German” national initiative and has a total volume of €38.4 million with a duration of three years.

Peter Merz, Head of Nokia Standards, said: “We are honored to lead 6G-ANNA, the most important government-funded 6G lighthouse project in Germany. While the first 6G networks are not expected to be commercially available before 2030, we are already laying the technical foundation with 5G-Advanced, as well as long-term innovation that will drive 6G developments.”

Nokia collaborates with DOCOMO on 6G

Nokia announced a partnership with DOCOMO and NTT to jointly define and develop key technologies towards 6G. The collaboration will focus on two proof-of-concepts for emerging 6G technologies: an AI native air interface and sub-THz radio access. These aim to demonstrate a performance gain with an AI based 6G air interface compared to a conventional air interface, and to show that high-data rate beamformed access can be achieved in a high frequency...

Next G Alliance outlines North America's roadmap for 6G

by Benedict Chua, Associate EditorATIS’ Next G Alliance published a Roadmap to 6G report that presents the first 6G vision for North America and describes major steps that industry, government and academia should take to ensure North American wireless leadership for the next decade.ATIS said more than 600 experts from 80 Next G Alliance members representing industry, government and academia came together to create the 43-page report.The following...

ST and GlobalFoundries target 300mm fab in France

STMicroelectronics and GlobalFoundries agreed to create a new, jointly-operated 300mm semiconductor manufacturing facility adjacent to ST’s existing 300mm facility in Crolles, France. This facility is targeted to ramp at full capacity by 2026, with up to 620,000 300mm wafer per year production at full build-out (~42% ST and ~58% GF).

The new facility will support several technologies, in particular FD-SOI-based technologies, and will cover multiple variants. This includes GF’s FDX technology and ST’s comprehensive technology roadmap down to 18nm, which are expected to remain in high demand for Automotive, IoT, and Mobile applications for the next few decades.

FD-SOI technology has origins in the Grenoble (France) area. It has been part of ST technology and product roadmap in its Crolles facility since the early beginnings, and it was later enabled with differentiation and commercialized for manufacturing at GF’s Dresden facility. FD-SOI offers substantial benefits for designers and customers, including ultra-low power consumption as well as easier integration of additional features such as RF connectivity, mmWave and security.

ST and GF will receive significant financial support from the State of France for the new facility. This facility will strongly contribute to the objectives of the European Chips Act, including the goal of Europe reaching 20% of worldwide semiconductor production by 2030. 

“This new manufacturing facility will support our $20 billion+ revenue ambition. Working with GF will allow us to go faster, lower the risk thresholds, and reinforce the European FD-SOI ecosystem. We will have more capacity to support our European and global customers as they transition to digitalization and decarbonization” said Jean-Marc Chery, President and CEO of STMicroelectronics. “ST is transforming its manufacturing base. We already have a unique position in our 300mm wafer fab in Crolles, France which will be further strengthened by today’s announcement. We continue to invest into our new 300mm wafer fab in Agrate (near Milan, Italy), ramping up in H1 2023 with an expected full saturation by end 2025, as well as in our vertically integrated silicon carbide and gallium nitride manufacturing.”

What's hot at OFC22? GlobalFoundries on Co-packaged optics

The proof-point for co-packaged optics are here, says Anthony Yu, VP of Computing and Wired Infrastructure, GlobalFoundries. Yu discusses GlobalFoundries' newly unveiled next generation silicon photonics platform and active design wins with major customers, including collaborations with Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Marvell, NVIDIA, Ayar Labs, Lightmatter, PsiQuantum, Ranovus and Xanadu.The Consortium for Onboard Optics (COBO) has been instrumental...

Broadcom announces executive re-shuffle

Thomas H. Krause, President of the Broadcom Software Group, will step down to pursue another role at a privately held enterprise software company. Hock E. Tan, Broadcom's President and CEO, will immediately assume Krause’s responsibilities, and the position of President of Broadcom Software Group will be eliminated.

In addition, the Broadcom announced that Charlie B. Kawwas, Ph.D., currently Chief Operating Officer of the Company, has been named President of the new Semiconductor Solutions Group, overseeing the company’s broad semiconductor portfolio. Dr. Kawwas remains responsible for the company’s global operations and sales for the Semiconductor and Brocade Storage Networking businesses.

Broadcom launches its $61 billion bid for VMware

 Broadcom unveiled plans to acquire all of the outstanding shares of VMware in a cash-and-stock transaction that values VMware at approximately $61 billion, based on the closing price of Broadcom common stock on May 25, 2022. In addition, Broadcom will assume $8 billion of VMware net debt. The deal has the support of VMware's Board of Directors, along with Michael Dell and Silver Lake, which own 40.2% and 10% of VMware shares outstanding,The...

Ekinops reports H1 revenue of €63.3 million, up 25%

Ekinops reported Q2 2022 revenue s consolidated revenue stood at €35.5m, vs. €27.6m a year earlier. At constant scope and exchange rates, quarterly growth stood at +24%.

Over H1 2022, revenue amounted to €63.3 million, vs. €50.8 million in H1 2021, an increase of €12.5m. This solid level reflects robust growth of +25% relative to H1 2021 and +20% relative to the H2 2021, which traditionally contributes more.

Ekinops noted growth in all of its business lines (Optical transport, Access and Software & services). In the wake of 2022, the Optical transport activity was particularly buoyant, with robust growth of +31% relative to H1 2021, thanks to the success of 200 Gbps and 400 Gbps WDM systems.

Over the period, momentum in Access solution sales was also strong in all regions, with +21% growth compared to H1 2021.

Driven by the success of SDN (Software Defined Networks) solutions, network functions virtualization (VNFs – Virtual Network Functions), Services activity, including the contribution of SixSq's activities, revenue generated by sales of software and services, which constitute a factor for improving profitability, jumped by +47%, representing 15% of H1 revenues.

By geography, revenues wereup +29% in France and strong sales momentum in international business, including +48% in North America. International sales momentum was upbeat over H1 2022, with revenue up +22% and strong growth in all regions. International business accounted for 65% of total revenue over H1 2021 (vs 67% a year earlier). Business volumes totaled €12.8 million in North America, representing strong growth of +48% relative to H1 2021 (+33% in US dollar), driven by demand for Optical transport equipment. Ekinops reached, for the first time, 20% of its revenue in North America in H1 2022 (vs. 17% in the previous year).

At mid-year, EMEA (Europe, excl. France, Middle-East and Africa), which accounts for 38% of business, generated revenue of €24.3 million, up +6% relative to H1 of the previous year.

Didier Brédy, Chairman and CEO of Ekinops, stated: "After a dynamic 2021 for Ekinops, this beginning of 2022 is marked by a clear acceleration in demand growth. Illustrating this dynamism, all our business lines show strong growth, with strong traction in our Optical transport solutions, particularly in North America. This momentum puts us ahead of our target set at the time of the OTN technology acquisition in 2019, namely, to triple our sales over 5 years for this business line. Beyond the excellent growth in sales, my greatest satisfaction is the tremendously positive feedback from our largest customers regarding our ability to deliver on schedule while the unprecedented components crisis is raging. From the beginning of the Covid crisis, we have chosen to use our balance sheet to increase our inventory, to buy certain risky components 12 to 18 months in advance, while we would buy those 6 months ahead before the crisis. These choices have proven to be right ones as they generate goodwill from our customers and allow us to win market share."

Stonepeak to acquire 29% in American Tower’s U.S. data centers

Stonepeak, a leading alternative investment firm specializing in infrastructure and real assets, will acquire an ownership interest of approximately 29% in American Tower’s U.S. data center business as part of a new long-term strategic partnership.

The partnership will be realized through an investment in common equity and mandatorily convertible preferred equity, in a transaction valued at $2.5 billion, implying an enterprise value of approximately $10.5 billion for the U.S. data center business (held as subsidiaries of American Tower). 

American Tower will retain managerial and operational control, as well as day-to-day oversight of its U.S. data center business, and Stonepeak will obtain certain governance rights. Stonepeak is making its investment as part of its core infrastructure strategy. The affiliated investment vehicles have received equity and debt commitment letters in the amount of $2.5 billion from equity and debt financing sources.

The transaction will position American Tower and Stonepeak to mutually benefit from the demand for low-latency, hybrid IT solutions and agile interconnection across the platform’s data center campuses, which are strategically located in key U.S. metro areas. The platform’s data center portfolio consists of 27 data centers in 10 U.S. markets, more than 450 networks, 23 native cloud on-ramps and over 35,000 interconnections.

Tom Bartlett, American Tower’s President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are pleased to partner with Stonepeak in our U.S. data center business, where we expect to create value through growth in our highly interconnected, cloud on-ramp rich portfolio of data center assets. In Stonepeak, we’ve found a like-minded partner, with deep communications infrastructure experience and a long-term investment philosophy that aligns with the principles of American Tower and our longer-term strategy in the data centers segment. While this transaction supports the equity financing component for our previously completed CoreSite acquisition, it also creates a platform through which growth opportunities can be strategically evaluated and financed, with American Tower and Stonepeak committed to executing on opportunities as the 5G ecosystem continues to develop.”

Andrew Thomas, Managing Director and Co-Head of Communications at Stonepeak, added, “American Tower has established one of the premier network dense, interconnection-focused data center platforms in the U.S. through CoreSite and previous acquisitions, which we view as a great fit for our core infrastructure strategy. The platform is strategically positioned to be at the forefront of the continued shift from a traditional centralized infrastructure model to a cloud-based, connected and distributed digital infrastructure model and we are excited to partner with the American Tower team to help accelerate investment behind this trend in the years to come.”

StratCap acquired >$150M of infrastructure assets in 1H 2022

StratCap, which is a privately-held, global alternative investment firm, completed the acquisition of approximately $151 million of essential digital infrastructure assets since the beginning of 2022.

The acquisitions include eighteen cell towers that were purchased for approximately $30.3 million and are located in California, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Connecticut. In addition, the company closed on four data centers that were acquired for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $120.9 million.

The data center assets are located in the Jacksonville, Cleveland, Denver, and Atlanta metropolitan areas. Three of the properties are fully leased with in-place cash flows while one of the assets is partially leased and was specifically acquired for its value-add enhancement opportunity. Management has stated that the assets are in “NFL cities” with growing demand for data center space and serve as mission critical infrastructure for the existing tenants which include a major financial services firm, a global bank, a national retail colocation provider and a major wireless carrier. Bryan Marsh, CEO of StratCap Data Centers stated, “These latest acquisitions provide us with what we believe are long-term, predictable rental revenues from high quality tenants while at the same time creating attractive value-add opportunities for our overall portfolio.”

Pat Miller, Managing Partner of StratCap, added, “We think digital infrastructure is one of the most compelling and resilient real estate sectors in the market right now. We continue to expand our footprint in the space, and we believe the sector has a long growth runway ahead.”

AT&T Mexico looks to Nokia for 5G

AT&T Mexico is collaborating with Nokia on 5G and has selected the company as a strategic partner for AT&T Mexico’s 5G Innovation Lab. 

Under the deal, Nokia will provide equipment from its 5G AirScale RAN portfolio, powered by its latest ReefShark System-on-Chip chipset.

Nicole Rodriguez, CTO at AT&T Mexico, said: “We are committed to providing our customers with the best experience possible. As we move forward with the deployment of our 5G network, we need the latest technology and the most reliable support services."

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: “We are excited to be part of this important milestone as a strategic partner for AT&T Mexico. Our latest AirScale portfolio creates a strong foundation for the operator's 5G evolution, enabling super-fast mobile connectivity and innovative use cases for its customers.”