Vocus switches on ASC earlier than planned

Vocus switches on ASC earlier than planned

In response to a fault on Sea-Me-We3 submarine cable

Credit: Vocus

Vocus has switched on the Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) earlier than planned following 24 hours of issues with the submarine cable between Perth and Singapore, Sea-Me-We3 (SMW-3).

The issue started early on 4 September when an international circuit between Perth and Singapore failed, affecting only a "small number of wholesale" customers in Australia.

The telco explained the issue was caused by a cable fault in a segment between Perth and Jakarta. There was also a fibre break at 1.2Km from Tuas, in Singapore.

"In order to minimise customer impacts due to the SMW-3 outage, Vocus has implemented an emergency cut-over of services that were running through SMW-3 onto the Vocus ASC, which is in its final testing phase," the company said in a statement.

The SMW-3 was built in 2007 and, according to Vocus, it has experienced faults, outages and slowdowns, as a result of the redundant data limit and ageing specifications of the cable.

France Telecom and China Telecom developed the cable in the 1990s, before launching it in 2000. In 2014, Vocus bought a 10 per cent stake in the project.

“Even though we had announced Vocus ASC ready-for-service on September 14, our priority is ensuring our customers continue to access the connectivity they require," Simon Smith, chief technology officer at Vocus Group said.

"The SMW-3 outage has forced our hand, but our testing on ASC is ahead of schedule and we are confident enough to press ASC into early service.”

The telco said that its engineers will continue to complete their work to fully operationalise ASC prior to the official RFS date as they continue to monitor the re-routed traffic from SMW-3.

“SMW-3 has unfortunately suffered many unexpected service interruptions in the past few years and Vocus ASC will be a welcome addition, being a newer and more technologically advanced cable, and able to offer a more reliable service than SMW-3," Smith said. 

"It is highly fortunate that our ASC project has been so advanced to be able to swing into action, in an emergency capacity.”

SMW-3 has gone through a major repair project in August 2017 after multiple cuts were detected on the subsea internet cable, issues that weren't repaired until mid-October.

"It began with an initial fault reported on August 30, but that was quickly escalated as repairers found several more faults while investigating. In late 2017, the cable was damaged and is offline again," Vocus stated in December 2017.

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Tags Vocussubmarine cableAustralia Singapore Cable

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