SeaMeWe-3 submarine cable spur borked until November 10th

What's happening down on the sea floor near Indonesia?

Rumbles are again reaching The Reg's ears about the state of the SeaMeWe-3 submarine cable.

The cable's been a mess in recent times, going down in December 2014 and then again in September 2015. A repair job in October was thought to have sorted things out, but chatter among network operators suggest the cable's operators are finding it hard to fix.

Australian internet service provider iiNet, for example, yesterday updated its customers with news that they'll keep experiencing higher-than-usual latency until November 10th due to “a submarine cable fault impacting our international links between Perth and Singapore.”

As Telegeogrpahy's fine Submarine Cable Map shows, SeaMeWe-3 is currently the sole operating Perth-Singapore link.

So what's going on down there?

Informed folk tell The Reg that when submarine cables are hauled up for repair, they remain exposed on the seabed afterwards. Over time, cables accrue a layer of protective silt, but in the weeks and months after a repair they're more vulnerable to stray anchors, nets, submarine earthquakes, hostile underwater vessels and highly-trained Al Qaeda laser-wielding whales. The Reg's submarine intelligence bureau cannot, for operational reasons, offer its preferred version of events.

Whatever is causing the mess on the Perth-Singapore link won't hurt the big European and Asian populations at the busy ends of SeaMeWe-3, but do serve as an example, if any were needed, of the fragility of global communications networks and their susceptibility to attack. ®

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