Fragile SMW-3 cable back in service

Carrying bits again, for now

The troubled Sea-Me-We-3 cable is back online, for now.

The break, in early September, led Australian carrier Vocus to light up its under-test ASC cable ahead of schedule.

A cable ship was found quickly enough, but ships move slowly. The Asean Explorer was detailed to carry out the repairs, but it didn't arrive in Batam, Indonesia, until a fortnight after the cable failed on September 5.

From there, the ship sailed to the Port of Merak in Java to begin operations, and last week (24 September), the repair window was set for 25 September to 28 September.

That schedule was met, according to Vocus: “The cable ship completed the final Splice and tested Segment 3.3 with traffic normalised by 28 Sep 2018 1700 UTC.”

The venerable SMW-3 is unlikely to carry traffic on its Australian segment for too much longer: Vocus will likely move its customers to ASC, which it owns.

Australian carriers Telstra and SingTel Optus, partners in SMW-3, are part-owners of the under-construction Indigo system with Superloop, Google, Indosat Ooredoo, and Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNET).

Indigo's Perth section was hauled ashore in mid-September, and the 18 Tbps per pair cable is due to enter service in the first quarter of 2019. ®

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