Vocus Kicks Off Subsea Cable Laying For ASC
By Corinne Reichert, ZDNet
March 28, 2018
Vocus has announced that cable laying has begun on the ASC (Australia-Singapore Cable) project, with the larger portion of the subsea cable system expected to be laid by April 20.
The ASC, worth $170 million, will see around 3,000km of cable laid by the Ile de Batz ship between Christmas Island and Fremantle through deep water, while the Ile de Ré lays around 1,600km of cable between Singapore and Christmas Island in shallow water.
“We could have done the entire lay with one vessel, but we decided to use two. Not only does this speed up things up, but the conditions for each of the two stages are quite different,” Vocus head of Network Product, Pricing, and Carrier Luke Mackinnon said.
The Ile de Batz ship will lay between 600 metres and 10km of cable per hour 24 hours a day during its journey, Mackinnon said, as laying cable in deep water is faster despite needing to change the type of cable and adding protection for when it comes across underwater chasms.
However, the Ile de Ré could take around 100 days to complete its route, as it is more “challenging” and requires a 40-tonne plough to bury the cable to protect it from existing subsea cables, fishing vessels, anchors, and environmental elements.
“The sea is shallower and it is also highly tidal,” Mackinnon explained.
“That could be a problem, because cables can move in tidal waters. Over time, they can rub against rocks and suffer from cuts. The other issue is there are many other cables and pipelines in the area. Each time the ship encounters one of these, the cable has to be brought up from the bottom of the sea.”
Vocus last month said the ASC remains set to go live in the first quarter of FY19 following the execution of five sales agreements, after saying it would be upgrading its core domestic networks infrastructure to deliver an additional 8Tbps of capacity between Sydney, Perth, and Melbourne ahead of the ASC becoming ready for service.
“We’re expecting immediate network activity when the ASC is ready for service, so this upgrade is critical to ensuring we keep ahead of demand and continue to provide the most advanced and intelligent network for our customers,” Mackinnon said in January.