Subsea Network Near Vietnam Cut... Again

What's eating the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) submarine network? Service is once again disrupted following another cable cut near Vietnam, the site of several cuts during the past year.

This week's damage was offshore from the city of Vung Tu, Vietnam, according to local reports. As a result, service is disrupted for the four Vietnam-based carriers that are hooked up to the AAG cable for Internet connectivity. Service to other countries reportedly hasn't been disrupted, because the cut is on a spoke of the transpacific cable that doesn't land in any other countries.

This particular route seems to have had more than its share of breakages, at least three within the past 12 months, with the most recent in September. AAG has not yet reported a cause for the cut or a timetable to repair. The consortium has yet to respond to an e-mail from Light Reading seeking comment.

Between 100 and 150 submarine cable cuts occur globally every year and most are accidental, Tim Stronge, vice president of research at consulting firm TeleGeography Inc. tells Light Reading. "Two-thirds of cable faults occur due to accidental human activity, mostly fishing and ships dragging anchors," he says. "Approximately 10% of cable faults occur due to natural disasters [earthquakes, underwater landslides]. A small proportion occur due to equipment faults."

You can read a lot more about the submarine cable market in our dedicated subsea content channel here on Light Reading.

While the frequency of the cuts near Vietnam is curious, Stronge says he's not aware of any confirmed reports of any submarine cable being cut intentionally. Notable outages and frequent cuts in particular regions, however, do tend to start the rumor mill churning about the prospect of terrorism or even attacks by pesky, and apparently hungry, sharks. (See Fourth Subsea Cable Down in Middle East.)

The AAG cable has been in service since 2009. Its suppliers include Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) and Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN). (See AAG Goes Live, AlcaLu, NEC Win Deal and Ciena Wins AAG Subsea Deal.)

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

mhhf1ve 1/7/2015 | 3:32:53 PM
any gps markers? Do these under sea cables have any kind of system to try to protect them? Is there a GPS map that could tell ship captains where the cables exist? 

Do telephone cables have the same frequency of problems? I don't seem to recall international phone lines being broken as often as I see news about fiber cables being cut.
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