EXA deploys new fibre for pan-EU network upgrade

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EXA Infrastructure has embarked on a two-year overpull upgrade for its pan-European networks, starting with a key backhaul route in Spain.

The first upgrade saw new cable installed through existing EXA Infrastructure ducts – formerly owned by GTT – to serve increasing demand in north east Spain. This included new data centres being developed in Barcelona and new subsea cables being deployed into the city.

The news comes three months after two thirds of the international network was upgraded to 400Gbps.

“This collaboration will see the very latest fibre technology brought to our network across Europe. By engaging closely with Corning, we will ensure that we are investing in the best quality connectivity and making that available to our customers, starting with our high-demand route in Spain and then targeting priority links across the region,” said Exa's Steve Roberts, SVP of product and marketing.

The upgrades have called on ultra-low-loss optical cables by Corning Incorporated. In fact, Corning’s SMF-28® ULL fibre is the "world lowest loss terrestrial fibre", according to Exa's statement.

“Ultra-low-loss optical fibres, such as our SMF-28 ULL fibres, are instrumental in allowing carriers and cloud operators to achieve long reach and high transmission capacity to meet future bandwidth demand,” said Sharon Bois, division vice president, product line and marketing at Corning Optical Fiber and Cable.

“Collaborating with EXA on such a large and advanced fibre network provides an excellent endorsement of the quality and scalability of our solutions, and we look forward to the development of this project across Europe,” Bois continued.

The first project delivered 300km of backbone network renewed with hybrid cable, featuring Corning® ALTOS® loose tube outdoor duct cable with SMF-28® ULL optical fibre. Additional projects utilise MiniXtend® cable and SMF-28® ULL optical fibre with 200-micron outer diametre, which supports higher density cables through its lower outside diameter.

In initial testing of the upgraded route from the French border via Barcelona toward Valencia, site-to-site losses on installed cables, including network connectors and splice losses, have been in the range of 0.17-0.18 dB/km for the SMF-28 ULL fibre at 1550 nm. EXA Infrastructure said this provided it with "great resiliency and capacity levels required for the most data-intensive customers in the region".