What Damages Submarine Cables?

In a neat tie-up between our recent post on sharks biting cables and our mini-series on the construction of the cable itself, we are going to look at what kinds of events or objects more often damage cables.

The major events that we plan for are mostly around undersea geology. We specifically aim to avoid rocky areas or installing the cable at the bottom of slopes. We also consider the steepness of the seabed and actively plan to avoid small hills and valleys. Rapid changes in elevation can increase the risk of the cable not lying flat on the seabed at all times. Any points where the cable can get suspended in mid-air can lead to it moving (or strumming) in the ocean currents. This, in turn, leads to the rocks on either side of the suspension sawing in to the cable. Over time, this can create damage and ultimately a cable fault, or even wear through and break the cable.

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Sharks Attacking Submarine Cables

Last week some articles were doing the rounds on the internet about the need to protect submarine cables from being bitten by sharks. You may have seen this video as evidence that it happens. This video was taken in 2005 in shallow waters (less than 1000m deep), even though it was uploaded to YouTube in 2010.

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Carlos Presents At The Annual TASICT Conference

The SubPartners team made another trip to Hobart this week. This time through the invitation of TASICT, the Tasmanian Industry Peak Body for the ICT sector for their annual conference and dinner, attended by more than 250 ICT professionals.

Carlos was one of two guest dinner speakers, alongside Nicholas Gruen, the widely published economist, entrepreneur and thought leader.

With Tasmania being the first State for the roll-out of the NBN, competitive backhaul connectivity is a burning issue for many Taswegians and the prospect of APX-Central connecting Tasmania to the international hubs of Perth & Sydney was well received. There is strong support for the project with Government, private enterprise and the ICT Community emphatically endorsing the opportunity.

The Mercury newspaper also picked up on Carlos’ presentation and the opportunity that APX-Central presents. You can read their article here.

Horizontal Directional Drilling

In one of our recent press releases, we talked about installing the seaward ducts for APX-Central and APX-East via a method called Horizontal Directional Drilling, or HDD. This is a very common method of getting a cable ashore as it provides good balance between cost, environmental protection, cable protection and minimal disruption during the works.

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Submarine Cable Construction – Fibre Optic Glass

Continuing our mini-series on the construction of a submarine cable, today we will look at the starting point – the fibre optic glass and Loose Tube.

TE SubCom manufacture their own cables in their own factory. The manufacture process is more of a detailed assembly of base components. The fibre optic glass is one of those purchase components.

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A Visit To The City Of Churches

Today saw Hamish head to Adelaide to continue the discussions on the APX Cable Systems.

He had a busy day talking to Carriers, Network Operators and Government departments regarding the capabilities of the APX-West and APX-Central. Of course, the benefits and advantages of APX-Central’s diverse subsea path between Perth and Sydney to land and connect cities en-route was a popular topic!

We’re getting more and more requests for presentations and meetings about the APX Cable Systems as the word continues to spread. Great times!

News From The Deep Goes Live!

Yesterday we published our first newsletter – News From The Deep. The first issue provides a general update on our recent announcements and progress to date on the APX cables.

If you would like to receive future issues, you can sign up here.

EDIT: Previous issues can be viewed online here.

Submarine Cable Construction

Over the coming weeks we thought we would explain the various components and layers that make up a submarine cable. One of the most common reactions we get when we show someone a piece of cable is related to its dimensions. The cables that we will use on the APX systems are typically 14mm or 17mm in diameter. This does increase as we add layers of armouring to protect the power conductor and fibre-optic glass strands.

Within the cable we have distinct layers of materials. These are chosen to do a specific task and can be added, wrapped or moulded to the cable in various ways and within different manufacturing steps to achieve the finished cable.

In its most basic form (which TE SubCom call ‘lightweight’) the cable consists of the fibre-optic glass strands, strength members, power conductor and a High-Density Polyethylene coating. This structure then forms the basis of the other cable types that we will use on the project.

Perth Cable Landing Station In NEXTDC P1

We have been reviewing and assessing our options for the Perth Cable Landing Station and have selected NEXTDC’s P1 data centre to provide the infrastructure to do that.

The P1 facility is a state-of-the-art Tier III UTI certified Data Centre for design and construction, providing SubPartners with an ideal, secure and reliable facility. P1’s building design, operational capability and extensive space and power capacity enables SubPartners to land both APX-West and APX-Central, simplifying operational activities, including the use of extensive power and communications infrastructure, field staff and back-office functions.

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APX-West Australian Non-Protection Zone Permit Granted

Today, we received notification from the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) that they have considered and granted our permit application to install APX-West in Australian waters. This now gives us the green light for installation of all parts of APX-West within Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the subsea continental shelf. In the map above the green coloured area around Australia highlights its EEZ and the red outlines indicate other EEZs.

The granting of this permit completes one of the core priorities for getting APX-West constructed and with all of the Australian permitting now complete we can now continue our work on the rest of the project.

Combined with our recent press releases on our APX project progress, this approval provides further validation of our plans to connect Singapore and Australia, and onwards to Sydney on APX-Central and then on to California via APX-East.