Unsurprisingly, two of the largest regions in the world generate the most media stories about cable faults. The Americas and AustralAsia regions are not only expansive, but several of the landing stations contained within each region are also in high traffic shipping areas and in the case of AustralAsia, there are multiple cables within geologically active areas. The EMEA region has the next greatest number of stories largely due to its sheer size and high number of cables. Historically, the AustralAsia and EMEA regions have had poor reporting but they have experienced increased coverage since 2017. (Figure 42)
Figure 42 – Cable Fault Stories by Region, 2013-2019
The remaining Indian Ocean Pan-East Asian and Transatlantic regions have had no reported cable faults within the period 2013 to 2019. While the former region simply has fewer cables to manage — in a relatively cable safe region — the latter is one of the most established regions in the world. It is again likely that many faults in these regions go unreported. Specifically, in the case of the Transatlantic region, there is almost always a cable repair ship nearby to quickly restore any damage within days or hours – likely preventing many faults from even being noticed.
Figure 43 – Total Cable Fault Stories, 2013-2019
A sharp rise in the volume of media coverage for cable faults has been observed since 2013. This is likely due to an increase in reporting, rather than an increase in cable faults, and almost certainly tied to the rapid rise of internet media reporting. Our global society is more interconnected than ever, with people sharing news faster than at any point in history. Since 2015, there have been between 19 and 32 stories each year. (Figure 43)
As the average customer is becoming more technically proficient – and quicker to complain to service providers – this has contributed to an increase in media coverage for cable faults. As more people are connected to the global submarine fiber network every year, the rise in reported faults by the media is expected to continue. This provides much needed transparency and accountability for the submarine fiber industry.
Figure 44 – Average Time Between Fault and Announcement, 2013-2019
Due to reporting and general awareness of cable faults being on the rise, the time between a fault occurring and a cable owner or operator announcing said fault is trending downwards since 2013 with the current average being about 10 days. (Figure 44) The increased media coverage has prompted cable owners and operators to become more transparent with cable faults. As internet connectivity continues to be an essential element in our lives, customers will demand transparency from service providers to ensure they work diligently to address service performance concerns.