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Subsea Update: FCC Wants More Outage Info

Dan O'Shea

The submarine cable sector has yielded waves of news in the last week. Here's a quick update:

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning at its September meeting to discuss a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking calling for more detailed reports from submarine cable operators regarding service outages. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler outlined his thinking on the matter in a blog post late last week.

    Essentially, Wheeler wants the operators of the 60 or so submarine cable that touch the US mainland to be required to submit outage reports via the National Outage Reports System, just as other communication network operators are required to do. "While submarine cables are vital to America's economic and national security, licensees currently only report outages on an ad hoc basis, and the information that we receive is too limited to be of use," he wrote.

  • Speaking of outages, the Australia-Japan Cable (AJC) recently had one on its span between Japan and Guam, but was able to reroute traffic elsewhere on its ring configuration by using the new Time-Based Instant Bandwidth capability of Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN)'s DTN-X platform.

    While the moniker Time-Based Instant Bandwidth might sound somewhat redundant, this capability expands on Infinera's existing Instant Bandwidth capability enabling on-demand bandwidth activation via software for a specific time period, quite handy for special events or something like an outage which ultimately will be repaired. With incidents of submarine cable damage and outages having increased in the last few years, this sort of capability could become a must-have for submarine cable operators. (See Infinera Helps AJC Cable Recovery.)

    Want to know more about the submarine cable sector? Check out our dedicated submarine cable content channel right here on Light Reading.

  • Though Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) Submarine Networks faces an impending IPO or sale event, the company was busy making other headlines last week. First, it was chosen to upgrade subsea systems near the Canary Islands for Telefónica , and a few days later announced it would build an extension of the South America Pacific Link from Panama to Florida for Ocean Networks.

    Xtera Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: XCOM) also is involved as a vendor partner on the full SAPL system, which will extend from points in South America west to Hawaii. Recent updates on the Ocean Networks website say the cable will be ready for service in 2017, which is a little later than the 2016 start the company originally hoped for. (See Eurobites: BT Boasts 330 Mbit/s With G.fast Field Trial and Ocean Networks Hits on Virgin Subsea Route.)

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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