Thursday, 19 August 2021 12:46

Vocus repairs Australia Singapore Cable within 13 days


The Australia Singapore Cable (ASC), which incurred a cut, has been repaired, with services restored in just 13 days—a process which would normally take months, according to telecommunications company Vocus.

Vocus says the ASC is a fibre cable system with a capacity up to 60 terabits per second (Tbps), stretching 4,600 kilometres between Perth and Singapore, with connections to Christmas Island and Indonesia.

Last 1 August, Vocus reported that the cable was cut off the coast of Perth after a container ship allegedly dropped its anchor in a cable protection zone.

The disruption impacted services passing into and out of Perth, while services between Christmas Island, Jakarta, and Singapore remained operational.

Vocus’ operations command centre, field technicians, and submarine cable maintenance partners were immediately deployed to the Perth cable landing station. The team confirmed a break to the cable approximately 10km off Perth’s coast, at a water depth of 27m.

Vocus IP services and traffic were immediately re-routed where possible, and remained operational as traffic destined for Asia was temporarily routed through Australia’s east coast via Hong Kong and the United States.

Vocus’ engineers optimised traffic out of Perth to Singapore via an alternate cable system.

Vocus engaged with its marine repair partner, SubCom, and deployed its repair vessel, CS Reliance, to start repairs.

After obtaining all the required permits and approvals, the CS Reliance began repairs last 5 August—just four days after the break occurred. Scuba divers and a remotely operated vehicle were deployed to identify both ends of the cable break, and the faulty segment was hauled.

By 9 August, just four days after commencing repairs, the south portion of the break had been spliced, while a section of new cable was laid toward the north end of the break. Bad weather in the region slowed repairs and repair operations resumed last 11 August.

Vocus commenced testing of the cable soon after, and normal services were restored as of 13:36 AEST last 13 August.

From the time the cable was cut on Sunday 1 August to the resumption of normal services, Vocus staff and the crew of the CS Reliance worked continuously throughout turbulent weather to complete the repairs.

Because the CS Reliance was already in the area, repairs were conducted in record time—a major effort that normally would take months was completed in just 13 days.

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