SUBMARINE TELECOMS INDUSTRY REPORT – SECTION 4.2: REPORTING TRENDS AND REPAIR TIMES
With progressively faster reporting time, it is very likely that announcement times will average under 10 days in the near future. This not only helps to hold cable owners and operators more accountable, but also provides reassurance to customers that cable faults are being addressed in a timely fashion. More accurate and transparent reporting of cable faults also helps maintenance agreement zones and private contractors more reliably predict where to distribute assets.
The average time to repair has been trending downwards from 30 days alongside media coverage for the period 2013-2019. As reporting of cable faults consistently increases in frequency and speed, this should continue to decrease the average repair time even further. The downward trend in cable fault repair time could easily lead to the average time to repair falling under 20 days over the next few years. (Figure 45)
However, another spike in average repair time was observed in 2019. Several faults this year happened far north in the Americas during the wintertime with ice and weather considerably delaying successful repairs or in remote regions in the Pacific that have lengthy travel times. This year was likely an outlier, and overall the trend should still be downwards.
There has been a rising correlation observed between frequency and speed of cable fault reporting and a decrease in average repair time. Internet news media reaches more people and informs them faster than ever before. As media coverage of cable faults extends to a wider audience and provides additional transparency, this correlation can be expected to continue.
Raising awareness of cable faults will also put pressure on government agencies in charge of issuing permits for cable repair work. Many times, this is the largest hindrance for a repair operation. This increased awareness will have a net positive effect on permit turnaround time, and further decrease the average time to repair for a given fault.
While the Americas, AustralAsia and EMEA regions all have a relatively short average time to repair, the Transpacific regional average is longer than all the others combined. With Transpacific systems containing some of the longest uninterrupted route segments in the world, this comes as no surprise. The longer a route segment is, the longer it takes to find and diagnose a fault for proper repair. Most systems in the other regions are broken up into smaller segments, and cable faults can be located and diagnosed much faster. (Figure 46)
As reporting accuracy of cable faults continues to increase, this will help bring down the Transpacific’s average time to repair. With repair crews getting better information on where faults are likely to occur, their ability to locate and diagnose a cable fault improves dramatically. Accountability and transparency of this sort is healthy for cable owners and operators.