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Nexans, a leader in advanced cabling systems, solutions and services, has completed the final test to qualify its state-of-the-art 420 kV XLPE subsea cable for installation at a world-record depth of 550 meters (1,804 ft).

A press release said that the cable testing, carried out by Nexans Norway, was done to meet a specific customer need. The cable is to be used for a project that requires a subsea power interconnector crossing Fensfjorden—a fjord close to Bergen in Norway—which is approximately eight km wide and 526 meters at its deepest point.

The Fensfjorden project is part of a broader plan by BKK Nett AS, one of Norway’s largest power companies, to strengthen the electrical grid in Western Norway. That plan includes a new 420-kV connection between Modalen-Mongstad that will ensure a stable and reliable power supply to over 420,000 residents, businesses and industry facilities throughout the region.

“We have every reason to be proud of what we have accomplished,” declared Nexans Project Manager Ivar Rolfstad. “We have pushed the technological boundaries and (beaten) our own previous world records!”

The new record tops the prior one that had been set by Nexans, for a 20-km 420 kV XLPE cable that was installed in water that was 390 meters deep in the fjord of Hjeltefjorden, Norway.

Nexans developed and produced the Fensfjorden cable at Nexans Norway facility in Halden. Installation on the bed of the fjord will be performed by a Nexans cable-laying vessel, the C/S Nexans Skagerrak, later in 2019, the release said.

The MAREA transatlantic subsea cable, the result of a joint effort between Facebook and Microsoft, achieved a record data transfer speed of 26.2 Tbps on a pair of its fiber optic cables during an experiment.

A press release said that the experiment yielded a 20% increase in the theoretical maximum as it was previously thought that the maximum transfer rate per fiber pair was 20 Tbps. In 2016, Facebook and Microsoft joined forces to build and deploy the highest-capacity undersea cable in history, dubbed the MAREA cable. The cable spans from Virginia Beach to Bilbao, Spain, and had a design capacity of 160 Tbps, with each of the line’s eight fiber optic pairs capable of 20 Tbps.

A recent experiment using 16 QAM modulation saw the transatlantic cable achieve a data transfer rate of 26.2 Tbps on one of the fiber pairs, the release said. The MAREA cable, which was designed to help meet increasing demand for high-speed connections to the cloud, was able to reach these transfer rates with no physical modifications to the line. "This is significant because it suggests that other undersea lines may be able to achieve speed upgrades without having to spend hundreds of millions on laying new cable," it said.

The release noted that average MAREA cable transfer rates are now "only" 9.5 Tbps, so the record speeds are still in the experimental stage.

AMSC’s former largest customer, China’s Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd. (Sinovel) has agreed to pay it $57.5 million in two installments to settle a dispute over stealing its technology. It was also fined $1.5 million by a federal judge on July 9, concluding a key stage in a long-fought case of IT theft that stems back as far as 2011.

The story of what happened to AMSC, formerly known as American Superconductor Inc., is staggering in scope. While it made high-temp superconductor wire, AMSC’s biggest focus was its proprietary technology to control wind turbines. The company had a $16 million profit for fiscal 2010, at which time it had some 700 employees and was on an international growth path. In early 2011, its stock traded as high as $260 a share, but later that year, Sinovel, its largest customer, refused to accept a shipment. It was later shown at trial that Sinovel, through an AMSC employee, had stolen its technology. The subsequent losses were later said to be more than $800 million.

The company cut its workforce in 2011 by 150 people, a 30% reduction, with further cuts made over the following years. A lengthy and expensive international legal battle was fought by AMSC in Chinese courts, and in 2013, the Justice Department announced charges against Sinovel. In the last 12 months, AMSC’s stock price dropped to below $3 a share, but bolstered by sales of its collective energy solutions products—and a key court victory on Jan. 24, 2018, where a U.S. jury found in favor of AMSC—and hopes of a significant settlement by Sinovel, it had risen to as much as $8 a share, only to fall under $6 a share when news of the settlement and the judge’s sentence was made on July 9.

AMSC President and CEO Daniel P. McGahn, who following the Jan. 24 jury finding declared that the outcome was “a victory for the rule of law,” said that the resolution it had reached with Sinovel prior to the sentencing was an important step. “We valued the past cooperation between Sinovel and AMSC which was heralded as the example of Sino-U.S. cooperation in the new energy area. Through Sinovel’s and AMSC’s joint efforts, we have signed a settlement agreement to resolve the previous disputes in a constructive manner that we believe will enable us to move on with our respective businesses. This closes a challenging chapter for AMSC.”.

NEC Corporation has signed an agreement with a coalition of marque businesses to build a nearly 16,000-km-long optical submarine cable.

A press release said that NEC was selected by The Bay to Bay Express Cable System (BtoBE) coalition composed of China Mobile International, Facebook and Amazon Web Services. Its mandate is to build a high- performance submarine cable connecting Singapore, Hong Kong and the United States. “NEC is honored to be selected by the BtoBE consortium as the turnkey system supplier for this world record-breaking optical fiber submarine cable system that covers the longest distance without regeneration,” it said.

The BtoBE system, scheduled for completion by the fourth quarter of 2020, will feature “multiple pairs of optical fibre that enable high-capacity transmission of data across the Pacific Ocean with round-trip latency of less than 130 milliseconds.” It added that the BtoBE “will further enhance and contribute to the much-needed expansion of communications networks between the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Area and Singapore.”

The cable will be built with the most advanced optical submarine transmission equipment, thereby improving network redundancy, flexibility and ensuring highly reliable communications, the release said. The BtoBE, landing at three locations spanning across the Pacific Ocean, is designed so that once completed, it can carry at least 18Tbs of capacity per fiber pair, said Toru Kawauchi, general manager of the Submarine Network Division at NEC Corporation. “The BtoBE will provide seamless connectivity and network diversity ... and complement other Asia-Pacific submarine cables, among others.”


The Chilean government has awarded Huawei Marine the contract to build a subsea cable connecting with the country’s far south.

Multiple media reports cited a statement from the Chinese technology giant, in which it said that it will partner with CTR (Comunicación y Telefonía Rural) to build the Fiber Óptica Austral (FOA), a 2,800 km connection from Puerto Montt to the Patagonian cities of Caleta Tortel and Punta Arenas through to Puerto Williams in the far south.

Subtel, as a Vice Ministry of Telecommunication and Transportation Ministry of Chile, will invest in the new FOA to connect Las Lagos, Aysén and Magallanes regions. CTR was awarded the contract to deploy and operate the network, while Huawei Marine will provide the end-to-end submarine cable solution. The system, which has a design capacity of 16 Tb/s, is expected to be completed by the end of 2019..


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