Networks

Submarine cable cut lops Terabits off Australia's data bridge

The PPC-1 cable is out of service until March ... if a ship to fix it can be found

Another of the submarine cables connecting Australia to the world, for data, has broken.

PPC-1, which stretches from Sydney to Guam and has 1.92 terabits per second capacity, is out of service until at least March 7.

TPG's announcement says the fault is around 4,590 km from the cable's Guam landing, which means it's around 3,000 metres below the surface.

The fault notice says engineers first logged a report that “alarms indicated that a submarine line card had lost its payload”, and the company is trying to establish when a repair ship can be dispatched to the location.

In the meantime, traffic is using alternate routes including the Australia-Japan Cable and Southern Cross.

Last year, the SeaMeWe-3 cable which runs from Perth to Asia via Indonesia suffered multiple outages.

The situation is complicated by the Basslink cable outage. As Vulture South reported last week, a repairing the electrical cable connecting Tasmania to the mainland is going to necessitate a visit by cable repair ship the Ile de Re, because Basslink's communication fibre is going to be cut during the operation.

The Ile de Re would be the default repair ship for PPC-1, so there's likely to be a lot of messages flying around working out whether it can fit a trip to Guam into its schedule, or if another ship has to be called in.

The cut also represents a challenge to PPC-1's owner, TPG, as the telco and ISP has recently offered vastly increased download allowances for its customers. That's the kind of thing an integrated carrier that owns a submarine cable can do. TPG's investors will be hoping its also invested in lots of local caching and contracts for backup bandwidth, as if it hasn't the cost of landing data promised to users will soon stack up. ®

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