AAG Still Not Fixed And APG Now Has Another Fault

Vietnam's submarine fiber optic cables break about 10 times a year

The APG submarine cable, just repaired last month, broke again December 13, and AAG has had a fault for several months.By Trong Dat
December 20, 2021

Vietnam needs to have solutions to strengthen the international Internet connection infrastructure on par with other countries in the region.

Sharing an overview of the situation of submarine fiber optic cables in Vietnam and the region, Hoang Duc Dung of Viettel Network said that international undersea fiber optic cables from Vietnam mainly connect to the main hubs in Singapore, Hong Kong, the US and France.

Particularly among Southeast Asian countries, the level of assurance of international infrastructure for Internet connections for Vietnamese users is currently the lowest in the region.

This can be easily seen through the number of submarine fiber optic cables. Singapore is currently the country with the best Internet connection infrastructure with 30 submarine cable routes, even though it has only 5.8 million people. This is also why this country has become a hub for telecommunications in Southeast Asia.

Ranking behind Singapore is Malaysia, with 22 submarine cable routes, followed by Thailand with 10 submarine cable routes. Vietnam has only seven undersea fiber optic cable routes, reaching the rate of 14 million people per fiber optic cable route.

Vietnamese enterprises use five submarine fiber optic cables including AAG (Asia-America Gateway), SMW3, Tata TGN-Intra Asia, APG (Asia Pacific Gateway) and AAE-1 (Asia Africa Europe 1).

SMW3 is an old cable (operated since 1999), which is about to be liquidated. Two cables SJC2 and ADC are expected to be put into operation in 2022 or 2023.

Vietnam's submarine fiber optic cable infrastructure is not enough for the demand of telecommunications businesses. That's why when a submarine cable incident occurs, domestic telecommunications businesses do not have enough infrastructure to respond.

In the past five years, about 10 incidents related to Vietnam's undersea fiber optic cables occurred. The average time to fix each incident lasted about one month. As a result, Vietnamese carriers can only use about three-quarters of the main cable routes.

According to the August 2021 report of the World Bank, when compared with 12 countries with similar conditions, Vietnam's Internet connection belongs to the group that needs to improve quality and speed if it wants to succeed in the digital economy.

Nguyen Phong Nha, Deputy Director of the Department of Telecommunication, said the problem of submarine fiber optic cables will definitely affect the quality of Internet access in Vietnam. In the current situation, there are still ways to ensure quality for domestic Internet users. The most obvious option is to set a backup capacity larger than normal demand.

Network operators in Vietnam said the Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) submarine cable has been in trouble since December 13, causing Internet service interruptions.

This is one of five main cable routes connecting Vietnam to the world. The cause of the incident has not been determined. Notably, an incident of APG was just fixed on November 27.

The APG cable was officially put into operation in mid-December 2016. APG has a length of about 10,400 km, running under the sea in the Pacific Ocean, providing a maximum bandwidth of 54 Tbps. The cable route has connection points in China, Hong Kong (China), Taiwan (China), Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

There is also another submarine fiber optic cable, Asia America Gateway (AAG), that is in trouble, and has yet to be fixed.

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