Cable Landing Station is one important component of a submarine cable system which comprises of Wet Plant and Dry Plant.
The Dry Plant of a submarine cable system is a segment between the beach manhole and the cable landing station, comprises of land cable, power feeding equipment (PFE) and submarine line terminal equipment(SLTE), etc. The Wet Plant of a submarine cable system lies between the beach manholes, consists of submarine cable, repeater/gain equalizer, branching unit. A typical schematic of a submarine cable system is shown below.
The PFE and the SLTE of a submarine cable system are installed at the cable landing station. In some cases, the PFE is installed at a cable landing station nearby the cable landing site, while the SLTE may be installed in another cable landing station much faraway. For example, the terminal station at Hillsboro for the SLTE of the TPE cable system is about 150 mile away from the cable landing site at Nedonna Beach.
Multiple submarine cable systems may share the same cable landing stations. The submarine cable system is connected with the terrestrial network at the cable landing station, through the so called backhaul system.
The cable landing site is usually carefully chosen to be in areas:
Multiple types of submarine cables may be used in a submarine cable system, subject to depth of the seabed where the cable lies.
The double armored submarine cable is used at the shore-end, terminated at the beach manhole at the cable landing site, and is interconnected with much lighter land cable going onward to the cable landing station.
In most of the jurisdictions worldwide, the cable landing license is required to land a submarine cable.
Africa is irrefutably one of the most important growth markets globally embracing digital transformation enabled by resurgent economic progress,
Among the 54 African countries recognized by United Nations, there are 38 countries that have seashore and 16 that are land locked. Out of these 38 countries that have seashore, 37 countries have at least one submarine cable landing. The lone exception is Eritrea, considering Western Sahara is considered disputed territory.
By the end of 2019, among the 37 countries that have at least one subsea cable landing, 11 countries have only 1 subsea cable, 10 countries have 2 subsea cables, 6 have 3 subsea cables, and 10 have more than 3.
The map below depicts a full and colorful picture about African Undersea Cables.
There are also excellent insights and summary on submarine cables business in Africa in the following articles:
Djibouti is a significant location for submarine cables running through the Asia, Africa and Europe corridor or connecting the East Africa.
Since the merger the Telecommunications Department of the Office of Posts and Telecommunications (OPT) and the International Telecommunication Company of Djibouti (STID) in 1999, Djibouti Telecom has become the incumbent and monopoly of national and international telecommunications throughout Djibouti. Djibouti Telecom is today a leading strategic center for international telecommunication services in East Africa with its underlying network infrastructure including international submarine cables and terrestrial cables (between Djibouti-Somali, and Djibouti-Ethiopia).
Djibouti Telecom has built two cable landing stations, the YAC A Cable Landing Station (YAC A CLS) and the Haramous Cable Landing Station (Haramous CLS). There are now eight submairne cables and two terrestrial cables connecting Djibouti to the world.
Subsea cables landing at the YAC A CLS:
Subsea cables landing at the Haramous CLS:
Besides the YAC A and Haramous cable landing stations, the Djibouti Data Center (DDC) represents a key telecom infrastructure in Djibouti.
Launched commercial operations in 2013, the DDC is a carrier neutral data center in Djibouti. The DDC building is adjacent to the Haramous CLS, and connected by diverse dark fiber paths to the Haramous CLS and the YAC A CLS, connecting all transoceanic and regional cable systems landing in Djibouti. Backhaul to any subsea cable head can be ordered directly from the DDC, although it is provided by Djibouti Telecom.
The geographic position of Egypt allows for an efficient crossing from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea for submarine cable systems.
TE being Egypt’s only fixed network operates the TE Transit Corridor, which comprises the terrestrial infrastructure linking the two Seas, over multiple diverse and redundant routes. Additional terrestrial routes over the Sinai Peninsula add to the unique resilience of the TE Transit Corridor and favourable submarine cable build economics by avoiding shallow waters.
There are now four cable landing stations in Egypt, Abu Talat CLS and Alexandria CLS in the northwards to the Mediterranean Sea, Suez CLS and Zafarana CLS in the south and the Red Sea.
Cables landing at the Abu Talat CLS:
Cables landing at the Zafarana CLS:
Cables landing at the Alexandria CLS:
Cables landing at the Suez CLS:
There are now the following submarine cables landing in Mainland China:
Cables to the US:
Cables connecting Asia：
Cables to Africa and Europe：
The cables land at 8 submarine cable landing stations in China.
China Telecom owns three cable landing stations, including
China Unicom owns four cable landing stations, including:
China Mobile owns one cable landing stations:
For provision of cable-based external fixed service, an interested party is required to obtain a UCL (External) from OFTA. Apart from leasing capacity on existing submarine cables for provision of service, a holder of UCL (External) may also choose to land their own cables in Hong Kong, either by using an existing CLS or building a new CLS.
As of January 2020, there are 11 submarine cable systems connecting Hong Kong, namely, Asia Africa Europe-1 ("AAE-1"), Asia-America Gateway Cable System ("AAG"), Asia Pacific Cable Network 2 ("APCN-2"), Asia Pacific Gateway (“APG”), Asia Submarine-Cable Express ("ASE"), EAC - C2C, FLAG Europe Asia ("FEA"), FLAG North Asia Loop ("FNAL") / REACH North Asia Loop ("RNAL"), Sea-Me-We 3 ("SMW3"), South-East Asia Japan Cable System ("SJC") and TGN-Intra Asia Cable System ("TGN-IA"). Several other systems are under construction or being planned.
Cables with Intra-Asia connectivity:
Cables connecting Europe, Africa and EMEA regions:
Cables connecting the United States:
Cables connecting Australia:
And there are eight submarine cable landing stations (CLS) in Hong Kong, including three at Tseung Kwan O, two at Tong Fuk, and each at Deep Water Bay, Chung Hom Kok and Cape D'Aguilar respectively.
Due to the geography of Hong Kong, the submarine cables are landed in Hong Kong from international waters via the southeast direction. This has restricted the choice of landing sites for submarine cables even though Hong Kong has a long coastline. Currently, there are three major areas for landing of submarine cables with cable landing stations at: (1) Tong Fuk in the southern part of Lantau Island; (2) Deep Water Bay, Cape D’Aguilar and Chung Hom Kok in the southern part of the Hong Kong Island; and (3) Tseung Kwan O in the eastern part of the New Territories.
As most of the existing submarine cables are landed at Tong Fuk and Deep Water Bay, there are advantages in having additional cables landed in new pieces of land elsewhere. It will offer the necessary physical diversity to land submarine cables at TKO (Tseung Kwan O) where accomodates many leading data centers in Hong Kong, such as HKEx, Global Switch, MEGA Plus, Hong Kong Financial Data Center, etc.
Japan is the Hub for telecommunications in APAC region. there are more than 20 international submarine cable landing stations in Japan, with cables connecting the United Station, Australia, Russia, Pan-Asia, Europe and Africa, including:
There are now four active cable landing stations in Korea, namely the Busan Cable Landing Station, the Keoje Cable Landing Station, the C2C Busan Cable Landing Station and the Taean Cable Landing Station, connecting APCN, APCN-2, APG, C2C, China-US CN, EAC, FNAL/RNAL, FLAG FEA, NCP, RJCN, R-J-K and TPE submarine cable systems.
Singapore is a hub in the submarine networks for connections from East Asia to South Asia, Persian Gulf, Mediterranean, and Europe regions, and vice versa. Many submarine cable have been developed and are developing into Singapore.
The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) is the lead agency for facilitating the deployment of submarine cable systems into Singapore. The IMDA provides guidance to interested parties and facilitates the process for applying for the necessary permits from various authorities. a Facilities-Based Operations (FBO) licence is required to deploy the submarine cable system into Singapore.
According to the 2016 edition of the Guidelines on Deployment of Submarine Cables into Singpaore issued by IMDA, as of September 2016, Singapore is connected to 17 active submarine cable systems, with a potential bandwidth capacity of more than 410 Tbps. These 17 submarine cable systems are landed in three designated landing sites in Singapore, namely the Changi North landing site, the Tanah Merah landing site, and the Tuas landing site. All new submarine cable systems can only be deployed to designated landing sites and each landing site is available on a first-come-first-served basis.
There are now seven cable landing stations in Singapore, including:
Here is a complete list of submarine cables connecting Singapore:
Cables northeastwards to Asia
Cables westwards to South and West Asia
Cables westwards to Europe and Africa (as well as South and West Asia)
Cables eastwards to Australia
Cables connecting the United Station
Updated: February 2020.
There are now 15 submarine cables landing in 7 cable landing stations in Taiwan:
Global internet giants and operators have heavy investments in Taiwan.
Google has two hyperscale data centers in Taiwan, one in Changhua County which costs US$780 million and was completed in 2013, the other in Tainan Technology Industrial Park which will cost US$850 million, with a power supply of 10MW. So, Google builds two subsea cable connecting Taiwan and the US, FASTER and PLCN. Google also acquies huge capacity on other subsea cables connectign Taiwan.
Besides local operators including Chunghwa Telecom, Far EasTone Telecom (NCIC), etc., Telstra represents a key player on submarine cable business in Taiwan, its EAC-C2C network landing in 4 cable landing stations in Taiwan, and being HKA landing party in Taiwan.
Geographically, the east and south coast of Taiwan island is of significant importance for the submarine networks, and is also a high-risk region for the submarine networks due to the characteristics of the geology of Taiwan.
The east and south of Taiwan are a complex system of belts formed by, and part of the zone of, active collision between the North Luzon Through portion of the Luzon Volcanic Arc and South China, where accreted portions of the Luzon Arc and Luzon forearc form the eastern Coastal Range and parallel inland Longitudinal Valley of Taiwan respectively. This region is encountered frequent seismic faults which may caused serious harmful impact to the submarine networks. For example, the magnitude 7.0 Hengchun Earthquake in December 2006 resulted in 18 cable cuts in 8 submarine cable systems, atastrophically disrupted Internet services in Asia and Pan-Pacific regions.
The Philippines takes an important position in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry worldwide. Submarine networks serve as critical components to the BPO industry, providing reliable and diverse links between the Philippines and the rest of the world.
Since the acquisition of Digitel by PLDT in 2011 and the takeover of Bayantel by Globe Telecom in 2013, PLDT and Globe Telecom have formed the duopoly on international subsea cable market in the Philippines.
In 2017, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the state-owned firm Bases Conversion and Development and Development Authority (BCDA) collaborated with Facebook to land PLCN in the Phillippines under the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure (LBI) project which is a government initiative for the National Broadband Plan (NBP) , the first of its kind for the Philippine government to implement by building and operating its own submarine cable landing stations. The BCDA builds the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure (LBI) made up of two cable landing stations and a 250 km long cable network corridor connecting the two cable landing stations.
There are now 10 international submarine cable systems landing 9 cable landing stations in the Philippines.
PLDT's cable landing stations include:
Globe Telecom's cable landing stations include:
BCDA's cable landing stations include:
DICT has signed agreement to offer its cable landing facilities to China Telecom Global which is the third telecom operator in the Phillipines.
(Updated: Feb 2020)
There are now 9 international submarine cables landing in Malaysia, including APCN, APCN-2, AAG, SMW3, SMW4, FEA, and several cables between Malaysia and Indonesia such as Batam-Dumai-Melaka (BDM) Cable System, Dumai Malaka Cable System (DMCS) and Batam-Rengit Cable System (BRCS).
Currently, there are 15 subsea cables (17 if Seacom and MENA are considered seperate cables) landing in 15 cable landing stations in 5 cities across India, in Mumbai, Chennai, Cochin, Tuticorin and Trivandrum.
BSNL plans to construct new cable landing stations in Digha, Cochin, and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. IOX will construct a new cable landing station at Puducherry. Reliance Jio is planning for new cables and landing station.
To have a full picture about submarine cables landing in India, please read following articles by an Indian expert Mr. Suvesh Chattopadhyaya:
According to Mr. Suvesh Chattopadhyaya's contribution, here is a complete list of submarine cables landing in India:
Currently, international submarine cables land in Thailand via 3 submarine cable landing stations, namely the Sri Racha Cable Landing Station, the Petchaburi Cable Landing Station, and the Songkhla Cable Landing Station.
The undergoing intra-Asia submarine cable system, South-east Asia Japan Cable (SJC) is going to land at the Songkhla Cable Landing Station.
The SEA-ME-WE 3 (SMW3) is currently the only international submarine cable system reaching Myanmar, landing at the Pyapon Cable Landing Station in Myanmar.
Brunei Darussalam is shaping up as a bandwidth transit hub for the Bornean States of Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan. Terrestrial fibre optic cables connect these Bornean States to Brunei cable landing stations which then provide direct connectivity to 9 international destinations, namely Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Japan, China and USA.
The Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry (AITI) facilitates the deployment of telecommunication infrastructure and services, including submarine cables, in Brunei. An Infrastructure Provider for the Telecommunication Industry (InTi) is required to deploy a submarine cable system into Brunei.
As of January 2020, Brunei Darussalam is connected to 4 active submarine cable systems, with a potential bandwidth capacity of 10 Tbps. These 4 submarine cable systems are landed in two cable landing sites in Brunei, namely the Tungku landing site and the Telisai landing site.
There are currently two cable landing stations:
There are now four submarine cables connecting Brunei:
Riding on the strong growth in IP-based traffic, Brunei has successfully lighted up 10 Tbps of international capacity to fuel bandwidth demand.
Brunei’s geographical location with no history of natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes, and substantially lower power costs, presented the sultanate with added advantages as a connectivity and transit hub for the underserved regions of Borneo Island and the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines East Asia Growth Area)
Brunei is connected Sabah and Sarawak of Malaysia and the West Kalimantan Province of Indonesia with terrestrial connectivity via the border crossing of Sungai Tujoh, and with commercial traffic of 1 Tbps.
There are two cable landing stations in Sri Lanka, the Mount Lavinia Cable Landing Stations for SMW3 and BLCS cable systems, and the Colombo Cable Landing Station for FALCON, SEA-ME-WE-4,SLT-Dhiraagu and SAFE cable systems.
Both SMW4 and SMW5 are built and owned by Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company (BSCCL) .
Mango, the only private sector international internet gateway (IIG) operator of Bangladesh, is connected to the global internet using the SEA-ME-WE 4 submarine cable system. Mango won its license through an open auction from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on February 25, 2008.
The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) issued draft licensing guidelines for two new submarine cable licences in early 2010. Each licensee should build a separate landing station within the general area of Khula-Patuakhali-Barisal-Chittagong, and should provide access, co-location and landing facilities to other submarine cable licensees, as and when required by the BTRC.
Besides the international submarine communication cable connecting Bangladesh, there are three terrestrial cables on India-Bangladesh boarders in Jessore, Sylhet-Comilla and Kurigram which may also bring Bangladesh into the global communication network.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s position at the heart of the Middle East and is a hub in the submarine networks in Middle East region.
There are now 13 in-service submarine cable systems connecting Saudi Arabia, namely:
There are no new submarine cable systems under construction or planning. However , there are expectations of new submarine cables announcements in the year 2019 due high bandwidth demand & route diversity.
Jeddah Landing Station, Al Khobar Landing Station and Yanbu Landing Station are connected to each other through completed redundant terrestrial network.
As most of the existing submarine cables are landed at Jeddah due to easy onward connectivity from Asia to Egypt & Europe. There are advantages in having additional cables landed in new pieces of land elsewhere. As an example, SE-ME-WE-5 cable landed in Yanbu. Yanbu was selected as a SE-ME-WE-5 landing site for ease of connections to capital city Riyadh and Jeddah, as well as the fact that the seabed off its shore is very favorable for submerging the marine cable and could offer the necessary physical diversity.
Contributed by Abdul Ravoof
To land or operate a submarine cable in the United States, submarine cable operators must obtain a cable landing license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC’s International Bureau, Telecommunications and Analysis Division (TAD) issues licenses to own and operate submarine cables and associated landing stations in the United States pursuant to the Commission’s authority under the Cable Landing License Act of 1921.
A cable landing license must be obtained prior to landing a submarine cable to connect:
Applications for cable landing licenses are subject to initial review for completeness of information and, upon acceptance for filing, public notice inviting comment. The FCC's rules provide for streamlined processing with action within 45 days of release of the public notice where the applicant can demonstrate eligibility for streamlining under the FCC's rules.
The FCC will undertake to act on applications that are ineligible for streamlining within 90 days of issuance of a public notice unless the application raises questions of extraordinary complexity.
To qualify for streamlining the Applicant must send complete copies of the application:
The State Department has authorized the Commission to act on applications when the FCC notices the State Department in writing of the filing of an application and the State Department does not object within 30 days of the notification.
The FCC also coordinates with other Executive Branch agencies applications where a foreign citizen or foreign-organized entity, including foreign government, would hold a 10 percent or greater direct or indirect equity or voting interest in the licensee.
In such senario, the Non-Streamlined Processing may be applied. The Non-Streamlined Processing involves an opaque and sometimes unending review process used by what's commonly known as Team Telecom (i.e., a working group of representatives from the Federal government entities charged with ensuring national security: the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Justice, State, Treasury, and Commerce, as well as USTR and the FBI), according to Commissioner of the FCC, Michael O'Rielly.
During the Non-Streamlined Processing, the FCC may grant the applicants an Special Temporary Authority (STA) to carry out certain engineering works and/or partial operation in the territory of the United States. STAs are granted with a fixed expiration date, usually six months, or for the term necessary to cover a special event, etc. STAs do not have grace periods and are valid only through their expiration date. The FCC may grant extensions of an STA for a period of 180 days, but the applicant must show that extraordinary circumstances warrant such an extension.
As of December 2019, there are 74 FCC licensed submarine cable systems (either operating or planning to enter service) and 9 new submarine cables pending for submarine cable landing license.
Virginia Beach is now a hot site for submarine cable landing, hosting MAREA, BRUSA, SAEx1 and Dunant submarine cable systems.
Microsoft and Facebook partner with Telxius to land its 160Tbps MAREA cable system at the Virginia Beach Cable Landing Station (CLS) site at 1900 Corporate Landing Parkway in Virginia Beach.
Telxius also lands its private cable BRUSA at the Virginia Beach Cable Landing Station (CLS) site at 1900 Corporate Landing Parkway in Virginia Beach.
ACA International LLC, the landing party in the US for the South Atlantc Express (SAEx1) bought 10 acres in Corporate Landing Business Park to build a cable landing station and data center there.
Google announced to land its second private and non-telecom Dunant submarine cable system at Virginia Beach.
Seaborn Networks plans to extend its Seabras-1 cable system with a branch to Virginia Beach.
Why Virginia Beach becomes hot for submarine cable landing?
The main reason is a more diverse route across the Atlantic and a direct interconnection between Europe and the Ashburn/Dulles datacenter hub. The city has established two diverse terrestrial landing routes: Camp Pendleton, this route is complete and was built for Telxius’ MAREA and BRUSA cables, the second, Sandbridge, which is on the drawing board ready for future needs.
The second is the favourable taxation policies. In December of 2017, Virginia Beach slashed its tax rate on computers and data center equipment to $0.40 per $100 of assessed value, currently the most competitive equipment tax breaks in the U.S.
Although NYC is still hosting most of the Atlantic cable systems. Virginia is hotter now, as Virginia State is the home of one of the US’s large Internet hub, Ashburn, Virginia. More than 16 large datacenters and more than 60 smaller datacenters in the state.
Guam is a natural hub and communication gateway for trans-Pacific telecommunications. On this 212-square-mile island, Guam arguably has one of the most extensive telecom infrastructures in the Asia Pacific region and most areas throughout the United States.
There are following cable landing stations in Guam:
There are 7 cable landing stations in Hawaii Islands, including
Cable landing stations in the Big Island:
Cable landing stations in Honolulu - Oahu Island：
Because of the increasing importance of submarine cables, the Australian Government introduced legislation designed to protect the most critical submarine cables—the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Protection of Submarine Cables and Other Measures) Act 2005. The legislation allows the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to declare submarine cable protection zones in Australian waters over submarine cables of national significance. The ACMA has declared three submarine cable protection zones:
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the sovereign state of Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa). The 2000 census showed a total population of 57,291 people. The total land area is 76.1 square miles (197.1 km2). American Samoa is the southernmost territory of the United States.
There is one international fiber optic cable between American Samoa, Samoa and Hawaii, the ASH/SAS Cable, and connects America Samoa to the existing global telecommunications infrastructure networks.
The ASH/SAS Cable lands at the Pago Pago Cable Landing Station.
Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa and German Samoa, is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in Polynesia, Savai'i. The capital city, Apia, and Faleolo International Airport are situated on the island of Upolu.
Samoa is connected into the global submarine networks with the Samoa American Samoa Cable (SAS Cable), and onward connectivity with the American Samoa Hawaii Cable (ASH Cable).
The ASH/SAS Cable lands at the Apia Cable Landing Station.
French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity or constituent country of the French Republic. It is made up of several groups of Polynesian islands, the most famous island being Tahiti in the Society Islands group, which is also the most populous island and the seat of the capital of the territory (Papeete).
There are several cable landing stations in French Polynesia, including Vaitape, Uturoa, Huahine, Moorea and Papenoo cable landing stations.
The Papenoo Cable Landing Station in Tahiti island is the cable landing station for the Honotua submarine cable connecting French Polynesia and Hawaii, with onward connectivity to link French Polynesia with global submarine networks.
There are three cable landing stations in New Zealand, namely the Whenuapai Cable Landing Station, the Takapuna Cable Landing Station and the Auckland Cable Landing Station
It is currently only one submarine cable connecting New Zealand, i.e., the Southern Cross Cable Network which land at Whenuapai Cable Landing Station on the West Coast of New Zealand and the Takapuna Cable Landing Station on the East Coast of New Zealand.
The second international submarine cable system to link New Zealand is underway, i.e. the Pacific Fibre Cable System which is going to land in Auckland.
A Chinese consortium (China Telecom and Huawei Marine) announced in September 2011 to build a new trans-tasman submarine cable linking New Zealand and Australia, which will be the third submarine cable system landing in New Zealand.
It is currently one international submarine cable linking Papua New Guinea, i.e., the PPC-1 cable landing at the Madang Cable Landing Station in Papua New Guinea.