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Synopsis

New Zealand Telecom proposes national fibre solution


Telecom has today put its weight behind the Government’s fibre vision and it is committed to playing a major part in
making the vision a reality for the future of New Zealand.

In response to the Government’s request for innovative proposals to help make the fibre vision a reality, Telecom has
responded by providing two innovative options that would lay the foundation for fibre to the premises to 75% of New
Zealanders and beyond.

“New Zealand faces challenges unlike any other nation. Throughout our history we’ve had to be innovative, intelligent,
make the most of what we have and not waste a cent. The fibre challenge is no different,” said Paul Reynolds, CEO,
Telecom New Zealand.

“Our proposals build on this proud tradition and will create a platform that will secure an ultra-fast broadband future for
our nation. In addition, prices would be set so that Telecom would not make a profit from the Government component of
any investment – all of the value would be returned straight to the nation.”

Every School And Hospital to be connected with fibre by Term 2, 2012


Central to both of Telecom’s proposals is the ability to connect fibre to 2,000 schools and all hospitals in the North and
South Island within two years of work starting, with the remaining 600 schools connected six months later.
“An ultra-fast broadband fibre future will be integral to every child’s education within a couple of years, opening up huge
opportunities for our children to learn and communicate across the world no matter where they are in New Zealand. From
Tikitiki to Haast, and from Te Hapua to Bluff, every single school can be a part of the fibre future,” Dr Reynolds said.

“This is also a strategically smart route to take, as schools can then form local ‘broadband hubs’, greatly increasing the
opportunity of rolling out ultra-fast broadband into rural New Zealand. It would enable a reach that would be equal to the
very best broadband deployments anywhere in the world. We believe this first step would deliver the maximum benefits
for the future of our nation faster than any other solution, and at a fraction of the cost.”

Under Telecom’s proposals, the 75% fibre coverage area would also include places such as Queenstown, Greymouth,
Rangiora, Gore and Waiheke Island. “Telecom’s proposals are a combination of building on the 23,500 km of fibre optic
cable already in the ground and integrating the Government’s $1.5b investment, with Telecom’s existing plans to extend
the reach of fibre to more and more New Zealanders,” said Dr Reynolds.

“Telecom’s annual infrastructure investment across New Zealand is already huge, encompassing fixed line, mobile and
other world-class services. Running at more than 25% of local revenue, our investment programme is the largest in New
Zealand, and is proportionately greater than that of any other telecommunications company around the world right now.
This is a commitment we are proud of.”

Detail Of Telecom’s Proposals


“The Government’s aspiration for fibre to the premises positions New Zealand as an international leader in this area. It’s
a challenge that Telecom welcomes, because we recognise the benefits that fibre can bring to customers,” said Dr
Reynolds.
The two alternative options are:

1. Co-ordinating Government investment with Telecom’s current fibre network and future fibre plans, dramatically
extending the reach of fibre optics throughout the country. This option would deliver the maximum amount of fibre.

2. Creating a national network of ducts, owned by a Crown Fibre Network Company, which all network and service
providers would have open access to. This asset would build on New Zealand’s existing ducting and fibre assets, whoever
owns them.

Both options would:


-Provide the fastest possible return to New Zealand, with one option providing fibre to every North and South Island
hospital within two and a half years and every school within three years of agreeing to proceed.

-Provide a national solution that focuses on the services people receive, not just the infrastructure or technology.

-Leverage New Zealand’s (not just Telecom’s) investment in telecommunications to the maximum possible extent.

-Achieve each of the Government’s stated principles for fibre investment, including ensuring the fibre is available to all
service providers on an equal access basis.

Dr Reynolds pointed to the success of Chorus, its operationally separated lines and infrastructure business, as a key
component of the proposals. “In a relatively short period of time, Chorus has become trusted by the industry. Under
operational separation it operates at arm’s length from the other parts of our business – meaning it must offer access to
our network on a totally equal basis to all parties. This structure is already in place, proven and working.

“Chorus has the expertise, the sole focus on running our nation’s telecommunications infrastructure, and people on the
ground who have already connected fibre to thousands of businesses and residential premises. Chorus is ready to go
today on making the fibre to the premises vision a reality,” said Dr Reynolds.

“Through Chorus, the Government can deliver more fibre, faster, to more people than any other company, and do it in a
way that ensures that Chorus does not take one cent in profit from any Government investment. The people of New
Zealand get the absolute maximum benefit from this investment in our shared broadband future,” Dr Reynolds said

China has been able to build a substantial national telecommunications infrastructure, with fibre optic cables
criss-crossing the nation, and there is still much expansion and improvement underway. The major carriers
in China have been vigorous in their embrace of IP and have been busy building the infrastructure to support
a wide range of IP services. China has built the largest NGN in the world, the IPv6-based ChinaNet Next
Carrying Network (CN2). The country is also increasing its worldwide connectivity through submarine and
terrestrial cable links and a massive satellite deployment operation is underway covering not only
telecommunications but also GPS and research activities. This report looks at China’s national and
international telecom infrastructure and includes cable television and digital cable television statistics and
forecasts to 2015 in China’s lead-up to full digital conversion.

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Middle East Asian Fiber Optic Cable Market Analysis

The Middle East's Asian market is one of the promising market for telecom service providers as well as other supporting

system, equipment and cable manufacturers and distributors -- in nutshell, all those related to

fiber optic technology. The coming years will observe an upswing in the growth with many of the major infrastructure
projects in the region could come out of the red strip. With the fast progressing infrastructure developments in many parts
of the region, telecommunication network providers are in constant effort to provide quality service to its subscribers.
Many green field opportunities are opening up to the service providers.

Saudi aramco, regions one of the major oil giant had drawn up a shortlist of prequalified contractors to bid for its $6 billion
worth of construction work on its proposed 400,000 barrel per day Jubail export refinery. France's Technip, Spain's TR,
Italy's Snamprogetti, South Korean SK engineering & Construction, Japan's JGC corporation are the contractors for the
first package of $ 1.8 billion which will cover distillation and hydro-treating.

Construction contracts are expected to be awarded by the first quarter of 2009. All the above contractors buy fiber optic
cables for data communications as well as Local area networking. Fiber cable companies can expect orders from these
contractors in the near future, fiberkids foresee. Another major step is by Dow Chemical, a US based company to proceed
for the three of the regions major projects in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Oman.

Privatization of the state owned telecom operators are on the air in many of the middle East countries and in some it has
already happened. These privatization has brought up new opportunities of technological development and has boosted
fiber optic cable companies. Etisalat is planning to reap from these privatization in the region.

Middle East Asia's other major telecom multinational operators like Saudi Telecom, Orascom Telecom from Egypt, Morac
telecom from Morocco and Qtel from Qatar are over shadowed by Etisalat

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The quest to reduce broadband cost in Nigeria led to fibre optic investments by Globacom, MainOne and WASC,
stirring positive outlook for Internet penetration in the country. Operators, forecast that costs will be seven times
lower when the cables are fully deployed. DAYO OKETOLA writes.

Broadband penetration in Nigeria, and indeed Africa, is abysmally low and by implication, makes the cost of
Internet connectivity and Information Communication Technology in general very high.

Nigerians, according to experts, pay an average of N775,000 ($5,000) per mega byte per month, a figure much
higher than what is paid in developed countries where broadband access is very high and almost considered a
fundamental human right that governments will not dare deny their citizens.

Experts, as a result, have identified infrastructure development, especially in the area of fibre optic cables with the
use of WiFi and WiMax as the way out.

Globacom, MainOne Cable Company and MTN Nigeria (co-owner of the West African Submarine Cable) have
taken the lead by investing in fibre optic cables to improve broadband penetration in Nigeria.
Glo-1 recently landed in the country, while MainOne, which will commence operations in Ghana in June, has
physically landed in the country too. WASC, a submarine cable from which MTN will draw a point to Nigeria, will
land later in the year.

The Chief Executive Officer, Starcomms Plc, Mr. Maher Qubain, is of the view that the cost per megabyte will be
five times lower when Main One cable commences operations in Nigeria and seven times lower when WASC takes
off before the end of the year.

He says, ”Broadband cost per megabyte is going to drop five times from what it is today when Main One
commences operations. This is the impact Main One cable will have on the cost of internet connection. It will also
allow Starcomms to reduce prices too because we have already signed a contract with Main One Cable
Company.”

Qubain, however, adds that prices will be seven times lower than what it is now when the West African Submarine
Cable comes on stream later in the year.

The Chief Executive Officer, Main One Cable Company, Ms. Funke Opeke, says only retail operators such as
Starcomms, MTN, Zain, Glo and Multilinks, among others, could best assess the cost implications of the fibre optic
infrastructure on the consumers. She, however, notes that cost will be reduced since Main One will provide
capacity to the operators at cheaper rates.

She says, ”We will provide capacity to them at cheaper wholesale rates. Our prices are lower and that will make
them reduce their retail prices too.”

The Chairman, Starcomms Plc, Chief Maan Labadidi, who also commented on the issue, notes that now is an
exciting time to be in the African telecoms industry, especially in Nigeria, owing to its market leadership, having
overtaken South Africa with over $18bn in telecoms investment, according to BMI reports.

He says, ”Following earlier phenomenal growth in the voice sector during 2008, the telecoms industry in Nigeria is
in the early stages of a further growth phase. Demand for data is now outstripping demand for voice worldwide and
Starcomms is well positioned to capitalise on this trend, being the first Nigerian network to launch 3G services. The
arrival of new undersea cable systems will see a dramatic reduction in the cost ofn international bandwidth.”

The General Manager, ChamCity, a subsidiary of Chams Plc, Mr. Adesola Bickersteth, says broadband
accessibility is a fundamental human right that must not be denied anybody; stating that the United Nations
recognised Information Communication Technology as a core tool that nations could use to achieve the Millennium
Development Goals.

He adds that some European nations had gone ahead to pass laws that declared access to broadband as a
fundamental human right of all their citizens.

Speaking against the need to increase broadband access in sub-Saharan Africa, he notes that the broadband
access gap between the region and the rest of the world is getting wider; adding that increasing access to
broadband connectivity should be of high priority for policymakers in the country.

The President, Nigeria Internet Group, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, who notes that efficient broadband will benefit the country,
says, ”Although broadband penetration in the country is still in its lowest ebb, the landing of Glo 1 Submarine fibre
cable and the expected landing of Main One submarine fibre cable and that of MTN, are indications that the
expected broadband penetration will bring about technology revolution in the country this year.

“By the time the operators begin to deploy last mile services from these fibre cables through the wireless
technologies like Wifi and WiMax , Nigeria will witnesses more broadband growth that will boost national
productivity.”
Ajayi, who says the Federal Government should maintain its stronghold in Africa‘s space technology programmes,
notes that the government should continue to invest in communication satellites because they are required to
complement fibre optic infrastructure rollout in the country which will in turn enhance broadband.

He says, ”We need satellite to compliment fibre optic infrastructure rollout in the country because there are areas
in the country that fibre optics cannot reach but satellite can. For instance, satellite will reach rural areas where
fibre optics cannot cover. However, we need to be strategic in making the investment.”

Growth rates for broadband have skyrocketed in recent years; however, an overwhelming 94 per cent of global
broadband users are still concentrated in the developed economies.

In broadband terms, large disparities exist between the developed and developing worlds not only in terms of
service availability, but also in terms of cost and access to technology.

The broadband market in Africa, according to experts, is currently at a nascent stage of development.

Experts have said that the cost of accessing Internet in Nigeria is one of the highest in the world and this is due to
low broadband connectivity. The only solution, according to them, is to crash the cost through the availability of
broadband.

They, therefore, challenged the Federal Government on the need to provide the much needed backbone on which
other things would ride.

Underscoring the abysmal situation of the Nigerian broadband infrastructure, the former Chief Executive Officer,
Nigeria Communication Commission, Mr. Ernest Ndukwe, was quoted by www.tradeinvestinNigeria.com as saying,
”While Internet provision in Nigeria has gained significant ground in the past years, the situation is far from
satisfactory compared to the developed nations.

”In the G8 countries, the number of people with access to computers and internet is growing at an exponential rate,
in many developing countries; the story is not exactly cheering.”

The Managing Director, Teledom Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, notes that broadband will improve technology
and drop cost of technology in Nigeria.

The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, says that
broadband remained an important factor in today‘s Nigeria and for the future. He urges the government to continue
to encourage the rollout of fibre optic networks and last mile copper infrastructure.

According to WorldInternetStats, Nigeria had eight million Internet users in September 2007, a three million
increase from the previous year.

While this is the highest number of users in Africa, with a total population estimated to be around 150 million, it
only gives the country an Internet penetration of 5.3 per cent.

Compared to the United States‘ penetration of 71.4 per cent, it is clear that Nigeria has its work cut out to make
Internet accessible to a larger number of its population.

Nigerians connect to the Internet in many ways but 53 per cent of connections are made through Very Small
Aperture Terminal links.

Wireless microwave links account for 19 per cent of Internet access and Digital Subscriber Line access are
estimated to be only 14 per cent. Many of these sessions are through Internet cafes as very few Nigerians have
their own personal computers.
The National Bureau of Statistics figures show that in 2006, less than 10 per cent of Internet users had access
from the workplace and less than four per cent from the home. Only 1.3 per cent of the population own personal
computers.

Traditional Internet service providers are facing increasing competition from Internet services offered by mobile
operators. The introduction of 3G services has enabled many Nigerians to access the iIternet through mobile
devices.

Generally, broadband Internet allows a user to get faster download of Internet materials and even watch streaming
videos and get very quick access to sites.

Maputo — The South African mobile phone company Vodacom has scorned the recommendations
from the Mozambican regulatory body, the INCM (National Communications institute of Mozambique)
that basic infrastructure should be shared between telecommunications operators, and instead it is
pushing ahead with its own network of fibre-optic cables.

The existing national fibre-optic cable is owned by the public telecommunications company,
TDM, and Vodacom claims that TDM is providing an unsatisfactory service. At a Maputo press
conference on Thursday, the chairperson of Vodacom's Mozambican subsidiary, VM SARL, Salimo
Abdula, said that the TDM fibre-optic cable fails, on average, for 180 hours every month.

There was certainly a serious breakdown in late April, when a cut in TDM's undersea cable, about 110
kilometres north of the town of Vilankulo, in Inhambane province, interrupted communications between
the south of the country and the central and northern provinces.

Suddenly, in Mozambique's second largest city, Beira, mobile phones ceased to work, and, because
they were out of Internet contact with their Maputo head offices, no bank transactions via Automatic
Teller Machines (ATMs) were possible.

It took two weeks to repair the fault, and would have taken longer but for the fact that a ship
with the appropriate equipment was nearby and agreed to do the job.

No cable is invulnerable, and what happened to the TDM cable could just as easily happen to a cable
owned by Vodacom or any other company. The real problem is the lack of back-up systems, which will
not be solved by every operator putting its own interests ahead of those of the public, and installing
their own cables.

Vodacom has already set up its own fibre-optic network in Maputo, and has a microwave system
linking Maputo to Beira, and Beira to Chimoio. By the end of 2011, the microwave transmission system
should link the other main central and northern cities (Tete, Quelimane, Nampula, Pemba, Cuamba
and Lichinga).

Vodacom admits that it is "absurd" for different institutions to make heavy investments in fibre-
optic networks covering the same parts of the country, but blames this on the supposedly poor quality
of TDM's services.
Abdula also noted that TDM is the main shareholder in Vodacom's sole rival, m-cel, the pioneer in
mobile telephony in Mozambique. "You can't be a player and a referee at the same time", Abdula said
of TDM, thus suggesting that it is favouring m-cel.

The chair of the Vodacom Executive Commission, Jose dos Santos, said the company "has reached
the conclusion that it would be better to push ahead with our own fibre-optic line because we want to
offer a good quality service to our clients".

The INCM would also like m-cel and Vodacom to share their transmission antennae. In
principle both companies agree that would be a good idea. In practice, no agreement has been
reached over prices, so each continues to build their own antennae, providing Mozambique with twice
as many transmission towers as it needs.

The INCM is strongly in favour of operators sharing infrastructures, but does not yet have the power to
enforce this. That may change if the country's parliament approves a set of regulations on the matter
some time in the next few months. The public tender for selecting a third mobile phone operator has
been launched, and it would clearly be absurd to have three sets of mobile phone antennae springing
up all over the country

Relevant Links

• Southern Africa
• Mozambique
• Company
• ICT
• Infrastructure
• Urban Issues
• Business

Although Vodacom has yet to make a profit in Mozambique, the company has pledged to invest a
further 2.1 billion meticais (about 63 million US dollars) this year in new technology and expansion of
its network. It plans to set up 100 new transmission towers, mainly in the centre and north of the
country (which compares with 50 towers erected last year).

Vodacom began its Mozambican operations in 2003, but has yet to break into profit. In the 2009/2010
financial year, its losses were 230 million meticais (about seven million dollars), which dos Santos
blamed on the depreciation of the metical against the US dollar and the South African rand.

Despite continued injections of capital, Vodacom's ambition to become the market leader in
Mozambique has been frustrated. Currently it claims to have a market share of 45 per cent, leaving m-
cel as still the dominant player, with 55 per cent.

Fiber Optic Cable

Fiber optic cabling consists of a center glass core surrounded by several layers of
protective materials (See fig. 5). It transmits light rather than electronic signals
eliminating the problem of electrical interference. This makes it ideal for certain
environments that contain a large amount of electrical interference. It has also made it the
standard for connecting networks between

Fiber optic cable has the ability to transmit signals over much longer distances than
coaxial and twisted pair. It also has the capability to carry information at vastly greater
speeds. This capacity broadens communication possibilities to include services such as
video conferencing and interactive services. The cost of fiber optic cabling is comparable
to copper cabling; however, it is

The center core of fiber cables is made from glass or plastic fibers (see fig 5). A plastic
coating then cushions the fiber center, and kevlar fibers help to strengthen the cables and
prevent breakage. The outer insulating jacket made of teflon or PVC.

Fig. 5. Fiber optic cable

There are two common types of fiber cables -- single mode and multimode. Multimode
cable has a larger diameter; however, both cables provide high bandwidth at high speeds.
Single mode can provide more distance, but it is more expensive.

A New Fiber-Optic Installation Standard


Nov 1, 1999 12:00 PM, By Paul Rosenberg, Consulting Datacom Editor

0 Comments Share2

When installing optical cable, what you don't know could really hurt you or damage your
cable. Familiarizing yourselfwith Standard 301 is a smart step to avoid such problems.

Up until a little over a year ago an installation standard for optical cable didn't exist. Yes,
the NEC has covered optical cable for longer than that, but these requirements focus on
fire safety and installation with electrical conductors; and not a whole lot more. That's all
changed now. As of late 1998, a joint venture of the National Electrical Contractors
Association (NECA) and the Fiber Optic Association approved and published
ANSI/NEIS Standard 301. This standard is part of the American National Standards
Institute (ANSI) National Electrical Installation Standards program.

If you're company installs optical cable, you'll need to become very familiar with the
guidelines outlined in this standard. We'll go through some of the more important
sections now to bring you up to speed.
General section. This section describes "procedures for installing, testing, and
commissioning of systems that use fiber-optic cables and related components to carry
signals for telecommunications, control, and similar purposes." The intent of the standard
is to define "a minimum level of quality for fiber-optic cable installations."

Cable installation. These sections outline proper installation of optical cable. The first
requirement is "all fiber-optic cables should be installed in accordance with their listings
and manufacturers' instructions." Although this seems obvious, one section details how
cables must be supported:

All optical cables shall be securely supported, and shall have the supports spaced closely
enough that there will be no excessive force placed on the cable. In general, horizontal
indoor cables shall be supported at intervals not exceeding 3 ft (91 cm). Supports may be
placed up to 5 ft (1.52 m) apart for armored cables, or cables over 1/2 in. (1.3 cm) in
diameter. Cables directly buried require no additional support. Cables in raceways are
considered to be adequately supported by the raceway.

Another section addresses the tightness of supports. The section reads: All straps or
supports placed on fiber-optic cables shall be tight enough to hold the cable securely, but
shall not be tight enough to substantially deform the shape of the cable. When optical
cables are squeezed out of shape, unacceptable forces are placed on the fibers, which
frequently result in microbends, microcracking, or even broken fibers. Where possible,
rounded or padded supports shall be used. Cable ties shall not be cinched too tightly, and
shall have the free tab cut off, to prevent overtightening in the future.

Notice that with power wiring we are seldom concerned with supports being
overtightened. But with data cables (not only fiber), overtightening is a frequent source of
cable damage you must avoid.

The standard also lists general rules to be followed when pulling cables into place. After
mentioning that manufacturer's instructions take pre-eminence, the following rules are
given:

• When pulling optical cables into conduits, cable trays, or raceways, the strength
member(s) of the cable shall bear all or nearly all of the pulling force. Cable jackets shall
not be directly pulled unless designed for the purpose, or unless the run is very short and
requires a minimal pulling force. Optical cables shall not be pulled into place by applying
tension directly to the fibers (pulling the fibers).

• Optical cables shall be attached to a pulling line only by methods recommended by the
manufacturer of the cable.

• Unless stated otherwise by the cable manufacturer, the maximum pulling tensions used
for optical cables shall be 300 lb. (136 kG) for multi-fiber indoor cable and 600 lb. (273
kG) for outdoor cable. The pulling force shall be uniform and consistent; cables shall not
be jerked.
• Cable pulling shall be done by hand, except when tension meters, tension-controlled, or
breakaway swivels are employed.

• When powered pulling equipment is used to install optical cable, tension monitoring
equipment or breakaway swivels shall be used. Swivels shall be used when pulling
optical cables intoconduits. Exceptions shall be made to this requirement only for very
short runs, which require a minimum pulling force.

• Continuous cable pulls shall be used whenever possible, avoiding splice points.

• Boxes used with optical cables shall be designed for the purpose, and shall be equipped
with cable supports. Pull boxes shall be sized so that no cables in the box shall be tightly
bent.

• A length of free cable shall be provided at each end of a cable pull. Loops of cable
(commonly called service loops) shall be provided at all intermediate pulling points, such
as in manholes and pull boxes. The cables' minimum bending radii shall not be violated.

• When pulls are accomplished in two or more stages, and spare cable must be unreeled,
it shall be configured in large figure-eights on a safe, flat surface, such as the ground or a
clean floor.

• When pulling fiber-optic cable through nonmetallic raceways (or nonmetallic 90


degrees elbows) with rope, maximum speed through a duct shall be about 3 ft (91 cm) per
second. If mule tape is used, the top speed shall be 9 ft (274 cm) per second. The intent of
this requirement is that the nonmetallic conduit or elbows will not be cut or grooved by
the pulling process.

• When underground raceways containing optical cables enter a structure, the raceway
shall be sealed to prevent the entry of gasses into the structure. The entry of outside plant
cables into a structure may require special fire safety considerations.

Safety precautions. I was quite pleased to find this section made it into the final standard
without much revision. (I was involved with the production of this standard, and its final
form was by no means certain until the standards committee took several votes.) With
two primary safety hazards associated with optical fiber systems, the more commonly
talked about hazard is retina damage; due to looking into the ends of live fibers. In real
life, however, this is a rare situation.

Few fiber systems have power enough to cause eye damage (cable TV systems being the
exception), and most broken fiber ends will diffuse the light passing through them
anyway. Nonetheless, this is a legitimate concern.

The second concern, however, is far more serious. This is the hazard posed by broken
pieces of fiber. These are essentially small glass needles, and can be quite dangerous:
Painful when stuck in the skin as a splinter, they are potentially life-threatening if
ingested. Hence the safety requirements of this section of the standard:

• Live optical fiber ends (live fibers are those with signals being sent through them) shall
not be inspected by technicians; fibers shall be dark (no signal being transmitted) when
inspected. Care shall be taken in verifying that the fibers are not live, since the light used
in the majority of optical systems is not visible to the human eye.

• If there is a risk of fibers being inspected live; especially when the system light source
is a laser, all technicians working on the system shall wear protective glasses, which have
infrared filtering.

• Fiber-optic work areas shall be clean, organized, well lit, and shall be equipped with a
bottle or other suitable container for broken or stray fiber pieces.

• No food, drink, or smoking shall be allowed in areas where fiber-optic cables are
spliced or terminated, or in any area where bare fibers are being handled.

• Technicians making fiber terminations or splices or working with bare fiber shall be
supplied with double-sided tape, or some other effective means, for picking up broken or
stray pieces of fiber. All work areas where bare fiber may exist shall be repeatedly and
consistently cleared of all bare fiber pieces. All bare fiber pieces shall be disposed of so
that they cannot escape and cause a hazard. (For example, bare fibers should be sealed in
some type of bottle or container before being dumped into a wastebasket.)

• All technicians working on bare fiber shall thoroughly wash their hands immediately
when leaving the work area. They shall also check their clothing, and pat themselves with
clean tape to remove any stray pieces of bare fiber.

Documentation. The installation of optical cable relies heavily on testing and


documentation. For most electrical installations, the only testing done is flipping on the
light switch or pushing a Wiggy into the outlets. But for data, every run of cable must be
separately tested and the results permanently documented.

This is not especially difficult, but it does require time and effort. More importantly, it
requires a change of mind-set for workers that cut their teeth on power wiring. The
requirements of this section are as follows:

All optical test results shall be thoroughly and accurately documented, and copies of the
test results saved in a permanent form (typically in both hard copy and on computer disk).
In general, documentation of test results shall include the following information:

• Cable type and length

• Splice and termination points


• Fiber type and size

• Connector types

• Splice types

• Cable paths

• End-to-end losses of completed transmitter-to-receiver links

• (Optional) End-to-end losses of individual fiber links The following tests shall be
performed on all fiber-optic cable installations:

• Continuity testing upon delivery of optical cables to the site of installation

• End-to-end loss testing for each complete transmitter-to-receiver link

• End-to-end loss testing on each individual link in the system, if transmitter-to-receiver


loss is beyond acceptable limits.

In addition, other types of testing may be required for certain types of installations. Long
runs shall be tested with an optical time domain reflectometer, and permanent copies
shall be made of all OTDR traces. All such trace copies shall be clearly marked as to the
date taken, and details of the cable and fiber runs.

Conclusion. Although I'm sure there will be changes to this document as time goes on, I
think it provides an excellent starting point. In the future, I'd like to see the standard
contain specific requirements for the amounts of free cable that must be accessible at
outlet points. My recommendation is to allow 30 mm at every outlet box, and at least 3 m
at every pulling point.

Copies of the standard are available from the National Association of Electrical
Contractors (NECA), and perhaps from some of the standards organizations themselves.

Uganda resumes fibre optic cable construction


By: Walter Wafula
Sixteen new districts will be hooked onto Uganda's National Data Transmission
Backbone in 2009 once construction of the second phase of the broadband cable begins.
Over 1,500 kilometres of optical fibre cable will be constructed to extend the
communication infrastructure to more towns.
“The installation of the national fibre network will improve access and lead to a
substantial reduction in prices by about 40% for data and 15% for voice services over the
first seven years of the project,” President Museveni said.

In Uganda access to web portals at internet cafes costs an average of UGX20 per minute,
while between UGX90,000 and UGX320,000 per month is charged by internet service
providers for various broadband packages.

“The low infrastructure base coupled with high tariffs charged by telecommunications
companies is responsible for the low access and use of data video and multimedia
services,” Museveni said.

Towns expected to benefit from the second phase of the project include those of, Iganga,
Busia, Mbale, Gulu, Masaka, Mbarara, and Ntungamo.

The first phase of the infrastructure was completed early last year with the Mukono,
Entebbe and Wakiso districts, which were linked to Kampala by the cable, benefiting. So
far, the cable has made it possible for government ministries within the locations to
implement e-governance and will subsequently be opened to the private sector and
individuals.

Installation of the project is being implemented by Chinese technology firm company,


Huawei Technologies following a $106 million loan advancement to Uganda.

MTN, UTL Protest take over of fibre optic


cable project
Tuesday, 12 December 2006 09:11

Uganda’s two national telecoms operators have protested against a decision by


the newly-formed ICT Ministry and industry regulator Uganda Communications
Commission (UCC), to take over the development of a national communications
backbone.

MTN and Uganda Telecom have separately been developing a network of fibre-
optic cables across the country, in order to fulfil part of their license requirements.
The two firms claim that the government, through the Ministry of Information and
Communications Technology, now wants to stop them in their tracks and take
over the job. This, the two firms argue, will at worst mean the wastage of millions
of dollars’ worth of network that they have already laid down and, at best, lead to
a useless duplication of infrastructure.

“We have advised that such a route should avoid duplication of existing
backbones,” Noel Meier, chief executive officer of MTN Uganda, the South
African firm that runs the largest mobile phone network in Uganda, told The
EastAfrican by e-mail last week. “MTN was surprised to hear that the government
has now decided that it needs to build its own backbone after repeatedly pressing
the operators to make use of infrastructure sharing arrangements.”

He added: “We should avoid a situation where the funds we contribute are
diverted to the maintenance of an idle ‘national’ backbone that duplicates existing
infrastructure rather than being spent on stimulating demand and supply of ICT
services in rural areas.

The backbone should not be a burden to the taxpayer.” At the heart of the matter
are two government policies that seem at odds. The first is a policy enshrined in
the licences that gave UTL and MTN a five-year duopoly starting in 2000, in which
they were required, as national operators, to build communication infrastructure to
cover at least 80 per cent of the country. The idea was that subsequent
investments in the country’s communications sector would then ride on this
infrastructure to avoid unnecessary duplication.

The two firms also contribute one per cent of their annual gross revenue to the
Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF), a government initiative to
mobilise private sector investments in rural areas. Mr Meier said that, by the end
of next year, MTN will complete the remaining fibre-optic link to the Kenyan
border, linking up with Telkom Kenya’s cable which will eventually run from
Malaba through Nairobi to Mombasa and form part of the East African Backhaul
system (EABs). In the west of the country, MTN is in discussions with UTL to
share capacity on the latter’s fibre links and thus avoid duplication of
infrastructure rollout, he said.

The company has a fibre-optic link up to Mbarara and it wants to extend to


Rwanda by linking up Mbarara via UTL’s fibre-optic cable to Katuna, where it will
join up with a fibre cable to be installed by MTN Rwanda to the Rwanda border.
These initiatives are taking place under the EABs project, a joint venture among
operators from Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. “We intend by
the end of next year to have a regional East African link that will not only deliver
regional traffic but together with EASSy, deliver international traffic that is of high
quality and affordable,” said Mr Meier.

The East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) is a joint venture between
countries in the region to lay an undersea fibre-optic cable along the eastern
seaboard of the continent, from Port Sudan to Durban, to reduce connectivity and
communication costs. However, Dr Ham Mulira, Uganda’s ICT minister, now says
that the government has taken on the responsibility of building the national
backbone, a vital national public communications infrastructure that will stimulate
economic growth by reducing voice, data and video communication costs.

The government’s position has been strengthened by the recent signing of a deal
with the government of China under which Uganda will borrow $106 million from
the China Export-Import Bank to build the national backbone infrastructure. A
Chinese company, Huaiwei Technologies, will carry out the job, slated to take
over a year. It has already started shipping in equipment for building the project,
according to Edward Baliddawa, chairman of the ICT committee in parliament.

Commencement of construction is awaiting completion of a technical feasibility


study by the ICT Ministry. A similar study that was being carried out by UCC and
supported by the World Bank has been suspended indefinitely.

The government’s position has ruffled feathers in the two telecoms firms. “This
government does not seem to have clear guidelines on who does what in this
industry,” an official in one of the companies, who asked not to be named, told
The EastAfrican. “Two technical feasibility studies were being done at the same
time, now they are developing a national backbone without even involving the key
stakeholders.”

The operators say that before the government builds its backbone, there should
be clear guidelines in place and commercial, cost-based reciprocal compensation
agreed by all parties involved. “We would, of course, be happy to share our fibre
with any national or even regional initiative such as EABs; our proposal to swap
rather than duplicate fibre with UTL bears testimony to our thinking,” Mr Meier
said. “We have already committed ourselves to hand over two fibres to the EABs
initiative.”

The government and the telecoms firms have been quietly sparring since the
exclusivity period on infrastructure development granted to the latter expired in
July 2005. After the duopoly, with no clear licence standards and requirements,
UCC came up with a new licensing regime that allows for a better pricing system
and ensures competitiveness in the ICT sector. The regime allows new players in
the industry to develop infrastructure for the national backbone.

This regime, contained in a new telecommunications policy, was authored by the


Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications in April this year – before the
creation of the ICT ministry. Independent stakeholders in the industry say it will
improve competition and propel the ICT sector forward if government owned the
national backbone infrastructure.

“There would be cheaper and faster connectivity all over the country for voice,
data and video. It would also enable e-government to be a reality because
infrastructure would be developed,” said Daphne Kamukyeya of the Women of
Uganda Network. Another stakeholder, who asked not to be named, said the
government should take over infrastructure development since the national
operators had failed to fulfil some of their licence obligations by the end of the
exclusivity period. For instance, he said, MTN and UTL failed to make provisions
for people with disabilities in the process of installing public payphones, a
requirement clearly stated in the license obligations.

The national operators are accused of concentrating on rolling out a GSM


network, causing most of the fixed lines that have been set up to be based on
mobile technology. The GSM lines that the network operators have installed are
thus only usable in the urban areas with electricity. Although this technology has
enabled the operators to fulfil most of their licence obligations and cover the bulk
of the country, rural areas have been denied the access to Internet, e-mail and
fax that would have been easily available on landlines, said an official from UCC.

However, Mr Meier defended the choice of technology, arguing, “The backbone


we have put in place is based on technologies that are ‘self-healing,’ in that they
are fully resilient to interruptions.