Telstra cable to be fixed by Tuesday

Telstra Australia expects to regain full capacity to its international cable network by Tuesday, a Telstra spokesperson confirmed today.

Telstra's public affairs manager for online services, Stuart Gray said a cable ship was currently sailing to the damaged SEA-ME-WE3 cable, 63 km from shore south of Singapore.

"To repair the break, remote controlled submersible submarines will go down to the cable and bring them up to the surface. The two ends of the cable will be spliced in with new cable and then spliced together. This procedure will take a couple of days and the cable should be fixed by next Monday."

The cable, which is sitting in 25 metres of water, is damaged in the Jakarta-Singapore link of the 39,000 kilometre cable that links Australia, Asia and Europe. It was damaged at about 3.20 pm AEDT on Tuesday.

Telstra is Australia's biggest Internet service provider with more than 650,000 customers and relies on the cable for 50 to 60 per cent of its international traffic. Hundreds of other Australian Internet service providers (ISPs) also use it.

SingTel is coordinating repair operations on behalf of the consortium of 90 companies from around the world who own the cable, including Telstra, France Telecom and Hong Kong Telecom.

Gray said the network had experienced slightly higher loads last night, but there were no new problems.

"It seems the spare capacity we found was enough to take up the 50 per cent knock out we experienced due to the damaged cable."

International traffic was rerouted from the western route cable to the eastern route cable.

Telstra's network is currently operating at 75 per cent capacity and Gray confirms that the company expects to maintain this level until the cable is fixed.

* Kelly Mills is a Computerorld Australia journalist

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