Australia Singapore Cable deployment now underway

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 28 March, 2018

Australia Singapore Cable deployment now underway

Vocus Communications has announced that cable laying for the new Australia Singapore Cable (ASC) is now underway.

The company has contracted Nokia subsidiary Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) to deploy the 4600 km subsea cable system using two different ships.

One ship will lay the 3000 km section of the cable that runs from near Christmas Island to Fremantle in Western Australia, while a sister ship will lay the 1600 km cable in the shallow water between Singapore and Christmas Island.

“We could have done the entire lay with one vessel, but we decided to use two. Not only does this speed things up, but the conditions for each of the two stages are quite different,” Vocus Head of Network Product, Pricing and Carrier Luke Mackinnon said.

He said the former deployment is expected to be complete in around one month, because laying cable is faster in deep water. The more challenging Singapore to Christmas Island build is expected to take around 100 days to complete.

“The sea is shallower and it is also highly tidal. That could be a problem because cables can move in tidal waters. Over time they can rub against rocks and suffer from cuts. The other issue is there are many other cables and pipelines in the area. Each time the ship encounters one of these, the cable has to be brought up from the bottom of the sea,” he said.

The ship laying this section of cable will use a plough to bury the cable under the seabed to protect it from the elements, other cables, fishing vessels and dropped anchors.

The ASC system has a total budget of around US$170 million ($220.8 million) and is due for completion in the third quarter. It will have a design capacity of 40 Tbps and offer a roughly 30% reduction in latency for connections from Sydney to Singapore compared to existing east coast cable systems.

Image courtesy Vocus Communications.

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