NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com), the ICT solutions and international communications business within the NTT Group, announced today that as part of a consortium comprising SoftBank, Facebook, Amazon, PLDT, and PCCW Global, it signed an agreement on 27 October to participate in the construction and maintenance of the JUPITER large-capacity low-latency optical submarine cable between Asia and the United States.
JUPITER & Other NTT Cables Map
The JUPITER cable system will have a total length of 14,000km connecting Japan, the U.S. and the Philippines, and an initial design capacity of 60 Tbit/s. It will have two landing points in Japan: the Shima Landing Station in Mie Prefecture and the Maruyama Landing Station in Chiba Prefecture; as well as a U.S. landing station in Los Angeles, California, and the Daet Cable Landing Station in the Philippines.
NTT Com’s Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE), Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) and Pacific Crossing-1 (PC-1) cables will connect with JUPITER to provide a redundant three-route structure linking major cities in Asia, Japan and United States with a secure and reliable international network (see above).
JUPITER will feature a state-of-the-art submersible ROADM (reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer) employing WSS (wavelength selective switch) for a gridless and flexible bandwidth configuration. JUPITER is expected to launch in early 2020 with an initial design capacity of 60 Tbit/s, which will be expanded later to meet rising data demands and complement existing cable systems.
JUPITER will be a 400Gbit/s wavelength-division multiplex (WDM) transmission system deploying the latest fiber and design technologies as the fastest cable between Japan and the United States. It will be capable of transmitting a six-hour high-definition video (about three movies) in one second.
JUPITER will deploy branching units working with WSS ROADM for fast and flexible remote switching of transmission routes. Transmission routes will be quickly switchable to ensure business continuity, including in the event of a natural disaster or other unexpected problem in coastal areas of Japan.
NTT New Minamiboso Landing Station Map
NTT Com will build the new multilayer-security Minamiboso Landing Station in Minamiboso, Chiba Prefecture which will be an extension from the existing Maruyama Landing Station and serve as NTT Com’s JUPITER termination point. The other cable landing station which JUPITER system terminates are well secured as well. JUPITER will also use the existing Shima Landing Station in Shima, Mie Prefecture (Image 2). NTT Com will provide connection to other cable systems via the Minamiboso and Shima landing stations to maximize transmission route options to support global business expansion by customers.
In addition, NTT Com will connect the Minamiboso Landing Station with data centers in Tokyo and the Shima Landing Station with data centers in Osaka, via low-loss optic fiber to enlarge the transmission capacity within Japan. Also, NTT Com will directly maintain and operate its landing stations in Minamiboso, Shima and Los Angeles to maximize service quality between Japan and the United States.
To meet the growing demands for traffic, including internet, cloud services and coming 5G wireless communications, NTT Com is steadily expanding its cable capacity in Asia and the Trans-Pacific, including by connecting multiple cable systems to its own data centers and enhancing cable redundancy, to offer highly reliable global network services. At the same time, NTT Com will further support the business-expansion initiatives of customers by merging its data center, cloud and network services.
Operational launch is planned for early 2020.
Adapted from: NEC Press Release
ANALYSIS: As forecast by JRC, the transpacific market continues to support new cable builds on the back of demand growth which is in excess of 50% per year CAGR (see table below). There are three submarine cable projects connecting Asia to the Americas which are currently well-advanced in their development.
The C&MA for “Jupiter” is signed, indicating that the participants are committed to funding the project and a system supplier (NEC) is contracted with a planned RFS in 2020.
While “Jupiter” focuses on major Asian island nations, the “New Cross Pacific” consortium, consisting of Korea Telecom, Chunghwa Telecom, China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, Microsoft, and possibly PLDT, focuses on mainland South East Asia, connecting China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and USA. This project has been “contract-in-force” since May 2015 but the Plan of Work was subsequently extended, resulting in a planned RFS in 2018.
Transpacific Cable Projects Currently Under Development
“Pacific Light Cable Network” (PLCN) is, in theory at least, a “private hybrid consortium” consisting of Chinese newcomer, Pacific Light Data Communication, Google, Facebook, and system supplier, TE SubCom. This cable has a mixed focus on both mainland Asia and key island markets and is planned to be ready for service in 2018. Recent evidence of progress includes Facebook’s announcement that it has secured landing party rights in the Philippines.
While the market focus of each of these three cable systems is slightly different, although with some overlap, there are two clear commonalities. First, each grouping includes at least one “content provider”.
There is a global trend towards the inclusion of a content provider in every ultra-long-haul system. A clear indication that this type of industry participant has become a critical source for funding submarine cable projects, as well as the generator of as much as 50% of the demand. Second, Japan continues to be used as an interconnecting hub for transpacific cables with the Philippines now also favored. Existing transpacific and intra-Asian connectivity puts Japan in a very strong position but the Philippines has been chosen over Indonesia which now has an equally solid claim to be a hub but, despite its attempts to create a more welcoming business environment, is still hampered by its reputation for corruption, bureaucracy, and religious bigotry.
Five other projects on the traditional East-West transpacific route have been proposed but are still on the drawing board.
Given the disastrous maintenance record of “AAG-1”, there is talk that the members of this consortium, which include Telekom Malaysia, PLDT, Telstra, Telin, and Viettel, may decide that it will be cheaper to build
a new cable than continue to pay for repairs to the existing cable.
“China-US-2” has been mooted for some time because the existing “China-US” cable has been full for several years. However, since China-US was built, economic relations between USA and PRC have become more strained, resulting in US “Team Telecom” effectively blocking any attempt to install Chinese cable and equipment on US territory. Equally, the Chinese will not accept the exclusion of Chinese system suppliers and cable manufacturers from such a project.
“Japan-US-2” has also been rumored for a while but all but one of the named participants in this project are participating in one of the three leading projects described above so it is unlikely to go ahead. The odd-man-out is Japanese carrier, KDDI, but this company is not known for taking the lead in initiating new submarine cable projects.
Julian Rawle, Author
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