Tasmania: back on the map, sometime today

Basslink: repairs complete, time to pull the big red switch

The saga of the Tasmanian electrical and telecomms interconnect Basslink is due to end today.

The company has announced that repairs on the submarine cables have been completed, and by last Friday all tests showed they were ready to return for service.

Basslink continues to investigate the causes of the cable failure, which first emerged in January. The telecommunications cable was merely collateral damage, since it had to be cut during the repairs to the submarine power cable.

The state was expecting power shortages as a result of the cable failure, since Basslink provided the mainland interconnect that allows it to both export and import electricity.

Low rainfall in 2015 and early 2016 left Tasmania's hydro-electric dams nearly empty, but recent rain means most dams are close to full or spilling. Hydro Tasmania's status page shows only two lakes are more than 10 metres from full, and twelve are spilling.

The outage on the telecommunications portion of the cable left ISPs with no choice but to take space on Telstra's cable across the Bass Strait. That led to a brief strangulation on some links, while non-Telstra providers worked out how much backhaul they could afford to buy. ®

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