How are submarine cables repaired?

SEA-ME-WE-4, the 18,000 km long submarine optical fiber cable, is disrupted between Alexandria and Marseilles. The cable was built by a consortium of international players stretching from Marselle to Singapore, touching Karachi, Mumbai, Colombo and Chennai in between.

SEA-ME-WE – stands for Southeast Asia – Middle East – Western Europe.

Bharti Airtel has a stake in SEA-ME-WE-4 and controls the landing station in Chennai.

Part of the affected traffic will be diverted through SEA-ME-WE-3. There are other ways of sharing the bandwidth as India is connected through other cables. The last cable cut which affected India was in December 2008 when Reliance’s FLAG cable was cut. There is a likelihood of slow broadband connections and Airtel has already warned its customers. I haven’t seen any drop in my broadband speed though.

It will take some time for the cable to be restored. As per some reports it should be restored by April 20, 2010. Here is how submarine cables are repaired :


Check the flash animation here, if it doesn’t play out. 

Souce. Image source.