Southern Cross to protect cable with figure eight

Southern Cross Cable Network will reconfigure its Australia-U.S. loop cable network into a figure-eight topology as a matter of urgency after two unrelated failures in the past week caused service outages, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The first failure lasted for 15 hours last Sunday, when a ship's anchor cut one sector of the loop off Sydney while the other sector was out of action for maintenance. With the Sydney cable still waiting to be repaired, a power problem at Southern Cross's Nedonna cable station on the U.S. West Coast early Monday caused a further four-hour service outage, according to the statement.

The company needs to apply the lessons it has learned and reconfigure the network into a figure eight as soon as possible, according to comments by Southern Cross President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Fiona Beck, cited in the company statement. Southern Cross will achieve this by significantly upgrading a link between the two sectors of the cable where they come close to each other in Hawaii, according to the statement.

The repair to the Sydney cable is expected to be completed on Tuesday and the network will return to protected status, with a fallback link available for any single failure, after testing some time late Wednesday, Southern Cross said in the statement.

Southern Cross is owned by Telecom New Zealand Ltd. (50 percent), Cable & Wireless Optus Ltd. (40 percent) and WorldCom Inc. (10 percent).

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David Legard

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