The Frequent Cuts of Submarine & Underground Fiber

By Owusu Nyarko-Boateng, Adebayo Felix Adekoya, Asubam Weyori, Isaac Kofi Nti and Ening Philip

May 28, 2021








The issue of protecting fiber cables has turned to be of international concern as more and more cables continue to get damaged. There have been series of fiber cable cuts in the submarine and underground transmission systems. Submarine cables are cables laid on the seabed across oceans and continents carrying huge capacity of call traffic and data services such as photos, videos, etc. Underground transmissions connect cable landing station switching centres to the various backbone and last-mile cell sites. The impact of fiber cable cuts businesses, organization, military intelligence gathering, scientific research and internet connectivity is enormous.

There are two main types of submarine cables: communications cables used to transmit data communications and power cables used to transmit electrical power. Submarine pipelines are used to transport oil and gas resources. According to Davenport (2018), all these cables are designed for underwater use and are laid on or buried under the seabed. Submarine communications cables, power cables, and pipelines are of different sizes, consist of different material, serve different functions, and have varying degrees of importance to the international community.

The underground cable, which has been deployed in many nations to provide high-speed internet connectivity to the rural and urban settler, business operations for government and private firms has not been spared in the cable cuts threats and dangers. The indiscriminate underground fiber cable cuts are unprecedented, and it is so alarming in predominantly low-income countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Haiti, among many other countries. According to Nyarko-Boateng et al. (2020), this situation results from poor underground cable laying practice and post cable deployment management. There are no proper measures to check the safety of the cables and ensure a sustainable cable protection regime for the underground fiber cable infrastructure.


Submarine and Underground Cable Cuts

There are approximately 426 submarine cables in service around the world. The total number of cables is constantly changing as new cables enter service and older cables are decommissioned. There is an uncountable number of underground fiber cable infrastructure for the long-haul and short-distance transmission across the globe. FTTx technology for fiber broadband services is on the rise in both advanced and low-income countries. Individual nations are solely responsible for the underground cable infrastructure, so nations have to come to the realization that underground fiber cables and Telecommunications infrastructure are critical national assets and it requires well structure protective measures but few nations has taken the initiative.

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