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Connecting Africa to Brazil to the USA PDF Print E-mail


With the huge explosion of Internet data there are many new submarine cable systems connecting the world. One new project is being driven by Angola Cables. This includes two new submarine systems. One connects Africa to Brazil while the other connects Brazil to the USA. Both have onward cable connections to Asia and the USA, respectively.

Angola Cables is an Angolan telecommunications operator of fiber-optic telecommunication cables. The company was formed in 2009 and is owned by the major national telecommunication companies, namely Angola Telecom with 51% of the capital, Unitel with 31%, MSTelcom with 9%, Movicel with 6%, and Startel with 3%. Its director is António Nunes. Angola Telecom is one of twelve companies composing the WACS Cable consortium.

Angola Cables’ Angonap Data Center in Luanda is host to all of the operators in Angola and provides them with international and local connectivity. It has access to the WACS, Sat-3 and SACS CLS.

South Atlantic Cable System

The South Atlantic Cable System or SACS, sometimes known as the Angola-Brazil Cable, is a submarine communications cable in the South Atlantic Ocean linking Luanda, Angola with Fortaleza, Brazil with a leg connecting the Brazilian archipelago of Fernando de Noronha as well. It is designed to provide low latency routing between Africa and Asia in the east and the Americas in the west. Data traffic between Angola and Brazil will no longer have to pass through Europe and the US, as currently occurs.

It is expected that the SACS will cut data traffic costs between South America, Africa and onwards to Asia by 80%. In Fortaleza the SACS will be interconnected to Seabras-1 while the Angolan end will provide onward connectivity by the SAT-3/WASC cable. According to its initiators it will have a lot of demand, mainly because it will be the first undersea cable in the South Atlantic linking the African continent to Latin America. The only other planned cable to potentially compete with SACS is the South Atlantic Express cable planned to enter service in 2017.

The cable will measure 6,165 km in length and will contain four fiber pairs, each capable of transmitting 100 wavelengths with a bandwidth of 100Gbit/s. Construction costs are expected to amount to $278 million, funded by Angola Cables, a consortium of major Angolan telecoms companies (Angola Telecom with 51% of the capital, Unitel with 31%, MSTelcom with 9%, Movicel with 6%, and Startel with 3%). It has a capacity of 4 fiber pairs, each designed for 100 X 100 Gbps wavelengths with a Total Design Capacity 40 Tbps. The Length is 6,165 route-km with a schedule for RFS planned for Mid 2018. The turnkey supply contract is in force with NEC.

The African cable station will be at Sangano. It is an existing CLS built in 2010 for WACS (West Africa Cable System). The Sangano CLS and OSP was designed to land and host multiple cable systems and is ready to land the SACS cable today. There is No terrestrial construction needed. SACS will use available spare duct in the WACS OSP.

SACS is the first transatlantic cable system crossing the Southern Hemisphere, connecting Africa and the Americas. It has the contract in force with 2 terminal stations. The system connects directly to WACS and MONET Direct link to the POP in Luanda (AngoNap), with an interconnect with SAT-3.

Monet

Moving onward from Brazil to the USA is the Monet cable system. In 2013, South America’s online population grew by 12%, “significantly higher than the Asia-Pacific region (7%), Europe (5%), Africa and the Middle East (3%), and North America (1%). With its capacity of 64 Tbps, state-of-the art infrastructure, and direct route to Brazil, Monet will help connect U.S. Internet users and businesses to this fast-growing market for years to come.

Monet will land in three locations: Boca Raton, Florida, Santos, Brazil, and Fortaleza, Brazil. The system will have three segments: Segment 1 from Boca Raton to a branching unit (“BU”), Segment 2 from Fortaleza to the BU, and Segment 3 from Santos to the BU. The principal portion of Monet (the “Main System”), composed of Segment 1 and Segment 3, will have six fiber pairs with a total capacity of 64 Terabits per second (“Tbps”). Segment 2 (the “Branch Leg”), will have ten (10) fiber pairs with a total capacity of 32 Tbps.

The system will have a total length of 10,556 kilometers and an expected useful life of 25 years.

GU Holdings (Google) is the landing party for Monet in the U.S. The landing parties for Monet in Brazil are GU Holdings (Santos landing) and Angola Cables (Fortaleza landing). The owners have entered into a United States Landing Party Agreement, a Santos Landing Party Agreement, and a Fortaleza Landing Party Agreement. Those agreements will govern the relationship between the landing party and the other Parties at each landing point. At each landing station, individual Parties may connect their capacity to the domestic network or other international cable systems.

There are a variety of alternative facilities on existing and proposed cable systems. The systems currently serving the U.S.-Brazil route are Americas-II, GlobeNet, South America-1 (“SAM-1”), South American Crossing, and America Movil Submarine Cable System-1 (“AMX-1”). A system called Seabras-1 also is expected to be licensed and ready for service within the next two years. Cable systems running from the U.S. to other locations in South America include Pan American (“PAN-AM”), Maya-1, ARCOS, Colombia-Florida Subsea Fiber (“CFX-1”), and Pacific Caribbean Cable System (“PCCS”), which should be ready for service this year. Thus, while Monet will substantially improve connectivity between the U.S. and South America, there are alternative facilities on the U.S.-Brazil and U.S.-South America routes.

The Monet system has three landing stations including Boca Raton Florida (USA), Fortaleza (Brazil), and Santos (Brazil). It is a trunk & branch configuration with a 6 fiber pair system with express and wave drop capabilities.

The cable has a turnkey supply contract with TE SubCom. There are 4 Monet Purchasers including Angola Cables, Google, Algar Telecom, and Antel. The project is being actively managed day-to-day by the Expert Group (technical and commercial procurement group). The EG reports to the Executive Council with representation and oversight from each Monet Party.

The supply contract with TE SubCom was signed 9th August 2014 with the contract in force on 8th Oct 2014. The joint build agreement between the Monet purchasers is signed and in force. Other details include:

  • Cable Landing Station activities underway at all sites
  • Marine Survey is complete
  • Manufacturing process according to the schedule
  • Marine Installation program has commenced
  • Target end of construction end of 2016
  • Angola Cables operation target 2017
  • Angola Cables owns two of the fiber pairs