Vocus confirms subsea cable outage

Vocus has confirmed that the SMW3 subsea cable between Perth and Singapore is experiencing an outage thanks to a cable break, with an expected repair date of mid October.

Vocus Communications has confirmed that the SEA-ME-WE3 (SMW3) subsea cable is down between Perth and Singapore due to a break in the line.

The cable system, which services South East Asia, the Middle East, and Western Europe, should be repaired by October 13, although Vocus said this is a "tentative" date that could change.

"SEA-ME-WE3 submarine cable between Perth and Singapore is currently down due to a confirmed cable break," Vocus said on Wednesday morning.

"Customers can expect to see increased latency to Asian destinations until this link is restored."

According to a report by Viet Nam News, the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) and the Intra-Asia (IA) subsea cable systems are also currently down, with the AAG broken at two spots around 66km and 85km from the cable landing station in Hong Kong and the IA cable broken around 54km from Hong Kong.

"Internet providers in Viet Nam failed to provide an explanation as to why all three internet cables were down at the same time and were unclear about the timeline of when the cables would be fixed," the report said.

The SMW3 also suffered an outage due to the cable being severed back in 2013.

Vocus is currently working on constructing a replacement cable system for the SMW3, last week announcing that its Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) will be completed ahead of schedule, with services expected to launch in July next year.

Initially planned for September 2018, Vocus said that despite adding a spur to Christmas Island, the subsea cable will be ready to go live in less than a year ahead of competitor cable systems Indigo and Trident.

Trident, Indigo, and the ASC are all aimed at replacing the slower-speed SMW3 cable, which currently carries data traffic between Australia and Singapore.

Vocus signed Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks in December to help build the 4,600-kilometre ASC, which is designed to carry 40Tbps at a minimum across four fibre pairs.

According to Vocus, the ASC is the only submarine cable system to have all landing party permits and approvals in both Indonesia and Singapore, and to have a "ready and waiting" fibre network across Australia that's able to transport traffic from Asia to all Australian capital cities, with construction now under way at the landing sites in Singapore, Indonesia, and Perth.

The ASC's marine route survey and full system design have been completed and the marine transmission system manufacturing is "in full swing", Vocus said, with 50 percent of the work done on the marine cable, 80 percent on the land-based electronics and power systems, and 40 percent on the subsea electronics systems.

Originally a 50-50 joint-venture deal between Vocus and Nextgen Networks, the ASC will connect Perth with Singapore and Indonesia at a cost of AU$170 million.

Vocus subsequently purchased Nextgen Networks for AU$700 million in June 2016, paying an additional AU$27 million for the ASC and AU$134 million for the North West Cable System (NWCS).

The 28Tbps two-pair fibre-optic, 1,070-kilometre Trident subsea cable will connect Singapore, Indonesia, and Australia, with stage one slated to go live in April this year and the entire cable to be completed by the second quarter of 2018. It utilises 100Gbps coherent dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology, which is upgradeable to 400Gbps.

The Indigo subsea cable system, announced earlier this year, will connect Sydney, Perth, Singapore, and Jakarta, spanning around 9,000km with two fibre pairs and a design capacity of 18Tbps.

Indigo is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

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