High-speed cable stretches 9000km to US

Mahesh Sharma | April 15, 2008

THE Telstra and Alcatel-Lucent 9000km submarine cable between Australia and the US that landed here last week will have to survive shark attacks and deliver 160,000 concurrent high-definition television channels to local homes.
[Unable to display image] Captain Federic Duboia aboard his deep sea cable-layer the Ile de Sein

Alcatel-Lucent's ship, the Ile de Sein, began laying the cable between Sydney and Hawaii early this year. It's expected to be operational at the end of 2008 and, at full capacity, will deliver 1.28Tbps into the country.
The telco will be hoping it avoids the shark attacks and typhoons that have threatened to bring down other trans-Pacific fibre-optic cables.
Several years ago, an incorrectly laid cable was almost cut when it was attacked by sharks, Telstra fibre optics director Matthew Shields said.
"You try to put enough slack in the cable, so even if there's a valley, it will end up not being suspended in any significant depth, but this particular cable did end up in that particular situation.
"Because it was being fed with an alternating current, rather than a direct current power feed, the pulsing was enough to agitate the sharks into attacking it."
Mr Shields also said a cable between Japan and the US was cut when a typhoon near Hong Kong dropped a shipping container full of cars into the ocean.
"As the container sank, the doors had opened, the car in this container had come out and, miraculously, it had landed right on top of the cable.
"I've got a photo in my office of a cable ship pulling up the cable with the car still on top of it."


Well I guess that throws out the surfboard 'shark shield' theory...