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Cable World Record Helps Ensure Internet For All

Southern Cross Cable world record helps ensure Internet availability

A world record has been set and then set again during the laying of the Southern Cross cable.

On Monday 21 February the CS Vercors plough-buried the cable 0.8 metres under the seabed in water 1,610 metres deep. This is believed to be the greatest depth of water in which a submarine cable has been buried by a cable plough being towed by a cable laying ship.

The record depth was reached while laying the cable on the eastern side of Lord Howe Rise, 1,300 kilometres out of Sydney towards Fiji.

Earlier in the month the CS Vercors broke the then existing record when it plough-buried cable in 1,550 metres of water on the western side of the Lord Howe Rise.

Southern Cross Marine Operations Manager, David Hercus, said burying the cable was crucial to protecting it from damage and ensuring high levels of system availability.

"Southern Cross is going to be an important component in the infrastructure that brings the Internet to Australasia - that is why we are pushing the technology and ploughing this deep."

"As the fishing vessels of the world get bigger and fish in deeper and deeper waters, cable companies like Southern Cross have to act to future proof protect their cables and the information that flows along them." Mr Hercus said.

In recent weeks, crews on the CS Vercors have seen fishing boats bottom trawling on the Lord Howe Rise in water depths of 1,400 metres according to Mr Hercus.

Southern Cross is designed to be available more than 99.999% of the time. This equates to just 50 minutes of network downtime every 10 years.

During the cable laying process, a remote-controlled hydraulic plough about the size of two four-wheel drive vehicles is towed by the cable laying ship and is used to lift a wedge of seabed. The plough then lays the cable in the bottom of the trench it has created and covers the cable with the material it removed.

The CS Maersk Defender, set the previous water depth record of 1538 metres for ploughing of cable when laying the Gemini system across the Atlantic. The CS Maersk Defender is currently laying the Southern Cross cable between Hawaii and Fiji.


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