Thursday, January 18, 2024

Google announces two central Pacific cables — Honomoana and Tabua

Google unveiled plans for two new central Pacific subsea cables:

  • Bulikula will connect Guam with Fiji and is the Fijian word for “golden cowrie,” a rare shell found in the Pacific Ocean often worn by local chieftains as a badge of rank. 
  • Halaihai, which will link Guam and French Polynesia, is named after a type of vine that grows on beaches. 

The new cables are part of a central Pacific Connect initiative between Google and a number of partners, including Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH), APTelecom, and Telstra.

The central Pacific Connect initiative will create a ring between Guam, French Polynesia and Fiji. This ring will include pre-positioned branching units that will allow other countries and territories of Oceania to take advantage of the reliability and resilience resulting from the initiative. Once operational, Bulikula and Halaihai will join Guam’s existing subsea cable portfolio — which includes Apricot, Echo, and Taiwan-Philippines-U.S. — accelerating the island’s position as a growing gateway for international connectivity.

“Beyond bridging the digital divide in our local community, this is Guam’s contribution — enabling new digital infrastructure such as subsea cables — to create and support connectivity between the northern and southern Pacific islands,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “Our economic futures are all dependent on digital technology, and we welcome the Halaihai and the Bulikula subsea cables to uplift our people together.” - Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero

“The announcement of the central Pacific Connect initiative gives every indication for a well-connected Region aligned to the Pacific Leaders vision for 2050. The Bulikula and Halaihai subsea cables will underpin the Pacific Peoples digital interconnectedness and lead the way for economic transformation through digital connectivity.” - Fiji Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Communications, Honourable Manoa Kamikamica

"Looking at a map, my country’s location at the center of the great Pacific Ocean spells 'connectivity.' I am therefore enthusiastic that Google has chosen to add Guam and Chile to the growing hub of submarine cables connected to Tahiti. A world better connected is a better world." - President Moetai Brotherson of French Polynesia

“Telstra International’s partnership with Google on the central Pacific Connect project will significantly improve connectivity in the South Pacific. Over several decades Telstra has established the largest carrier subsea cable network in APAC, and with our operational scale, we are looking forward to partnering with Google and APT to provide much needed redundancy and vital capacity to underserved island countries.” - Roary Stasko, CEO Telstra International

The central Pacific Connect initiative builds on the South Pacific Connect initiative, announced in October 2023, that will create a ring between Australia, Fiji and French Polynesia. This southern ring will also include pre-positioned branching units that will allow other countries and territories of Oceania to take advantage of the reliability and resilience resulting from the initiative. This is one of the first projects of its kind in the Pacific, providing the ability to bring redundant international connectivity to a region that is susceptible to natural disasters.

Google announces subsea cable connecting Chile-Fiji-Australia

Google announced Humboldt, a subsea cable route linking Chile, French Polynesia, and Australia. This will be the first cable directly connecting South America with Asia-Pacific.

The Humboldt cable is named for Alexander von Humboldt, a German polymath, geographer, naturalist and explorer who traveled extensively to the Americas at the turn of the 19th century. 

Google says the Humboldt project is a reflection of its longstanding commitment to Chile, joining other infrastructure projects, including the Google data center in Quilicura in powering Google services, the Google Cloud region in Santiago supporting customers across Latin America, the cross-Andes terrestrial connectivity between Chile and Argentina, and the Curie subsea cable linking Chile, Panama, and the West Coast of the United States.

"Chile is a country that is at the forefront of technology and is a leader in the implementation of the latest generation networks. As a Government, we are working day by day to consolidate this position and create the conditions for new investments of this kind to continue to arrive. The interest of companies like Google shows that Chile is doing things right. The country is leveraging its potential to generate the growth that will help us improve the well-being and quality of life of the people. These are projects that create employment and later, when they become a reality, improve the working conditions of thousands of people, in addition to placing Chile as a leader in the region and strengthening its position as the gateway from South America to the digital world." - Juan Carlos Muñoz, Transportation and Telecommunications Minister of Chile

“Australia welcomes this new trans-Pacific cable connecting Australia and Latin America for the first time, supporting the growth of digital and economic ties. This new cable route will enhance Australia’s global connectivity and complement our work with Pacific countries to secure better access to the global digital economy.” - Hon Michelle Rowland MP, Minister for Communications of Australia.

Dell'Oro: Next Gen Coherent DSPs to Drive Optical DWDM Market

Optical DWDM equipment is forecast to reach $18 billion in market revenue by 2028, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group. The entry of coherent DSPs capable of delivering wavelength speeds over one terabit-per-second is expected to drive the market growth for the next five years.

 “We are projecting the new generation of coherent DSPs that are capable of terabit speeds will grow at an accelerated pace over the next five years,” said Jimmy Yu, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group. “By 2028, we expect over half of the DWDM market revenue will be derived from shipments of 1.2 Tbps and 1.6 Tbps-capable line cards. These new line cards will bring 400 Gbps wavelength into ultra-long-haul applications that cross thousands of kilometers, and 800 Gbps wavelengths everywhere else,” added Yu.

 Additional highlights from the Optical Transport 5-Year January 2024 Forecast Report:

  • Demand for DWDM Long Haul equipment is projected to grow at a faster pace than Metro equipment and contribute a higher share of market revenue going forward.
  • Shipment of coherent wavelengths capable of terabit-per-second speeds is forecast to grow at a 200 percent CAGR over the next five years.
  • Baud rates over 100 GHz will surpass 40 percent of new installations by 2028. High baud rates will reduce the total number of wavelengths per fiber, but the larger channels will deliver better performance and longer reach while reducing cost.

Australia's Vocus to deploy 1.6 Tbps with Ciena’s WaveLogic 6

Vocus will deploy Ciena's WaveLogic 6 Extreme (WL6e) 1.6 Tb/s coherent technology across its long haul and metro links. 

Vocus owns and operates a 25,000km fibre network that is purpose-built and managed for business and government. It connects more than 5,000 buildings across Australian capital cities and is located close to an additional 20,000 buildings.

Ciena’s WL6e will support up to 1.6 Tb/s single-carrier wavelengths for metro ROADM deployments and 800 Gb/s-1.2 Tb/s over the longest links. Apart from helping Vocus prepare its network to handle unprecedented bandwidth demands, WL6e will also enable Vocus to drive energy efficiency by reducing the amount of equipment and space needed.

“We are delighted to be the first network operator to announce plans to adopt this exciting technology after partnering with Ciena to power our links across Australia – from Brisbane to Perth, via Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide. We are at a significant stage in the cloud and artificial intelligence era and WL6e will provide the capacity required for Vocus to meet the needs of new and existing customers looking to thrive in this transformative period,” said Steve Haigh, General Manager Network Engineering, Vocus.

“Ciena’s industry-leading pedigree in optical innovation combined with our drive to create adaptive and energy-efficient networks that address surging bandwidth demands is designed to help network providers like Vocus deliver a superior digital experience for customers with even greater economies of scale. With the additional network capacity enabled by WL6e, Vocus will solidify its position as a leading carrier providing reliable and cost-effective connectivity across Australia and New Zealand,” said Matt Vesperman, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Ciena.

Zayo carries 800G wavelength over 1866km with Nokia

Zayo transmitted 800Gb/s over a single wavelength from Los Angeles to El Paso (TX), a span of 1,866km, using Nokia’s sixth-generation Photonic Service Engine super-coherent optics (PSE-6s). 

The companies also achieved a 1 Tb/s transmission on Zayo’s LA to Phoenix route over 1004km, also using the Nokia PSE-6s.

The trial used Nokia’s PSE-6s implemented in the 1830 PSI-M compact modular transport platform equipped with production-ready DMAT6 line cards. 

Nokia says the 800Gb/s transmission represents a tripling in reach over current 7nm solutions and sets a new North American distance record over a live network. In addition, the 1Tb/s transmission between LA and Phoenix over 150GHz WDM channels shows the ability to reach even higher capacity per wavelength on high-traffic routes.

Aaron Werley, Vice President of Technology at Zayo, said: “As a communications infrastructure leader, Zayo remains at the forefront of network connectivity. We continuously invest in our cutting-edge infrastructure to ensure a future-ready network. The infrastructure projects we have, and continue to complete to advance connectivity between key cities, involves the deployment of new 800G and higher-speed routes. Nokia's PSE-6s coherent technology allows Zayo to offer ever-increasing commercial Wavelength speeds, including enabling our industry-first Waves on Demand offering, so when customers demand innovative, higher-bandwidth solutions, the capacity is there for them.”

James Watt, Vice President and General Manager, Optical at Nokia, said: “Nokia is very pleased with the performance of the PSE-6s in the trial and its ability to enable 800G everywhere and deliver 1T between key cities over long spans at over 1000km. We are delighted to partner with Zayo on this achievement in preparation for growing network demand. With the PSE-6s, the Nokia optical portfolio pushes the limits of super-coherent performance to deliver massive network scale and service reach while ensuring more sustainable growth.”

AST SpaceMobile lands strategic investments from AT&T, Google, Vodafone

AST SpaceMobile, which is developing space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by everyday smartphones, announed a strategic investment from AT&T, Google and Vodafone and aggregate new financing of up to $206.5 million in gross proceeds. In addition to the $155 million strategic investment, the company also plans to draw up to $51.5 million from the company’s existing senior-secured credit facility.

The strategic investment is intended to support the commercial roll-out of AST SpaceMobile’s network and is comprised of a mix of equity-linked capital and non-dilutive commercial payments. The investment includes:

  • $110 million of 10-year subordinated convertible notes with 5.50% interest (which may be paid in kind), with a conversion price of $5.75 per share, a 39% premium to the final trading price on January 16, 2024; invested by AT&T, Google and Vodafone
  • $20 million revenue commitment from AT&T, predicated on the launch and successful initial operation of the first 5 commercial satellites
  • $25 million minimum revenue commitment from Vodafone, subject to a definitive agreement

In addition to the strategic investment, the new investors will increase their collaboration with AST SpaceMobile:

  • Vodafone and AT&T have placed purchase orders for network equipment from AST SpaceMobile to support planned commercial service, for an undisclosed amount
  • Google and AST SpaceMobile agreed to collaborate on product development, testing and implementation plans for SpaceMobile network connectivity on Android and related devices

In 2023, the AST SpaceMobile and partners AT&T, Vodafone, Rakuten and Nokia achieved multiple historic technical first-evers in space-based cellular communications – including the demonstration of 2G, 4G LTE and 5G calls, and 14 Mbps download speeds per 5 Mhz channels – directly from space to everyday smartphones. 

AST SpaceMobile also notes that its beams from upcoming satellites will =support capacity of up to 40 Mhz, potentially enabling data transmission speeds of up to 120 Mbps. 

Abel Avellan, Chairman and CEO of AST SpaceMobile, said, “Our vision at AST SpaceMobile has always been to chart a course of collaborative innovation and integration with the world's leading wireless companies, which is why we are so thrilled to be welcoming this new strategic investment from AT&T, Google and Vodafone. With this strategic investment, we are gaining capital, invaluable expertise, and strategic partnership. This investment comes alongside prior investments by other leaders in the wireless ecosystem, including Rakuten, American Tower, and Bell Canada, all of whom are not only part owners of AST SpaceMobile but also serve as our technology partners and customers. Each new partnership signifies that market leaders worldwide have tremendous confidence in our vision and ability to ensure that the future of cellular broadband is borderless."

Chris Sambar, Executive Vice President, Head of Network, AT&T, said “Through our work with AST SpaceMobile, we’ve already proven the possibilities that satellite has to offer in helping connect more people via text, voice and video. We’re excited to deepen our relationship with this investment as we continue to drive a first-of-its-kind innovation forward and work together to achieve this shared vision of space-based connectivity for consumers, businesses and first responders all around the globe.”

  • AST SpaceMobile currently operates the largest-ever commercial communications array in low Earth orbit, the AST SpaceMobile currently operates the largest-ever commercial communications array in low Earth orbit, the BlueWalker 3 satellite. 
  • On September 10, 2022, BlueWalker 3 was launched  on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A.

  • BlueWalker 3 boasts a 693-square-foot (64 m2) antenna array and a field of view of over 300,000 square miles on Earth. It maintains low Earth orbit at an altitude between approximately 508 and 527 km (316 and 327 mi).

Google amps up UK presence with $1 billion data centre investment

Google announced plans to invest $1 billion in a new UK data centre in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire. 

The new data center on a 33-acre site will bring crucial compute capacity to businesses across the UK, supporting AI innovation and helping to ensure reliable digital services to Google Cloud customers and Google users in the UK and abroad.

QuSecure awarded U.S. Air Force contract

QuSecure, a start-up based in San Mateo, California, has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by AFWERX to address the most pressing challenges in the Department of the Air Force (DAF). 

QuSecure's QuProtect software will be used by DAF to protect encrypted communications and data with quantum-resilience via quantum secure channels.

This contract is part of efforts to streamline the SBIR process, making it more accessible to small businesses, and follows previous SBIR contract wins by QuSecure from the U.S. Army in 2023 (Phase II SBIR) and the U.S. Government in 2022 (Phase III SBIR).

“Following winning our previous two SBIR awards, QuSecure is proud to be a part of the Department of the Air Force’s efforts toward a more cybersecure future,” said Garrison Buss, QuSecure Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer. “This award from the Air Force recognizes QuSecure’s ability to help enhance the combat fighting capabilities necessitated by modern warfare.”