SEA-ME-WE 3 ‘out of service until mid-October’ after storms

Storms off the coast of Hong Kong have broken the SEA-ME-WE 3 subsea cable and repair will take an estimated six weeks.

Australian operator Vocus Communications says the break is increasing latency for customers in Perth on Australia’s west coast, where the 17-year-old SEA-ME-WE 3 lands.

“We have received a tentative repair completion of 13 October 2017,” said Vocus, warning that “these dates tend to change over time”.

It warned: “Customers can expect to see increased latency to Asian destinations until this link is restored.” It is understood that Asian traffic is now being routed via the US.

It is the third break to SEA-ME-WE 3 in recent years: the cable was damaged in 2013 and 2015. The 39,000km cable connects Australia with south-east Asia, the Middle East and western Europe.

Vocus is backing an alternative route between Australia and south-east Asia, the Australia-Singapore Cable (ASC) project, which would run 4,600km and link Perth to Singapore and Indonesia, with additional connections to Sydney and the US, using capacity leased on the Southern Cross cable.

Another company, Superloop, is supporting a second new cable, Indigo, which will connect Singapore and Indonesia with Australia and will be owned by a consortium with AARNet, Google, Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel and Telstra.

Nokia’s Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) is expected to build both cables.