China-US cable won't be fixed until next week

A repair ship has been dispatched to the waters off Chongming, China, to fix the break that occurred Friday morning in the China-U.S. Cable Network, but the high-capacity fiber-optic cable probably will not be repaired until at least next week, an executive of network provider Teleglobe Hong Kong Ltd. said on Monday.

Japan-based KDD Corp. has sent a repair vessel from the port of Yokohama to the site of the cable break, 320 kilometers (200 miles) from Chongming, an island just north of Shanghai, said Carrie Chan, business manager at Teleglobe Hong Kong, a unit of Teleglobe Inc. The ship will not reach the site until midweek, Chan said. After the ship arrives there, it probably will take four to five days to repair the cable, she added.

The 80G bps (bits per second) cable was severed at about 8:00 a.m. local time Friday by a ship's anchor, and the ensuing loss of Internet connectivity between Asia and the U.S. affected many users in Taiwan, Singapore, China and elsewhere in the region.

Providers of backbone capacity and Internet access have turned to backup sources of connectivity, but traffic on some replacement links is still congested. In Taiwan, for example, Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. by 9 p.m. Friday local time had restored its U.S. Internet connectivity via two other undersea cables, the telecommunications carrier said in a statement.

Teleglobe, which was providing backbone Internet access to Internet service providers on two 155M bps connections on the cable, has redirected traffic to capacity it leases on other submarine cables and started up a T-3 (45M bps) satellite connection as partial backup for the lost link, Chan said.

The China-U.S. Cable Network began operation in January 2000 with landings in California, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Guam. A second leg, which will create a loop and provide backup in case of a failure, is still under construction.

The cable was built by a consortium of carriers that included AT&T Corp., China Telecom Ltd., MCI Worldcom Inc., Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. and Sprint Corp. More than 20 additional carriers, including Teleglobe, have since joined the consortium.

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