China-U.S. cable cut again

The U.S.-China cable on Friday suffered its second break off the coast of China in a month, carrier executives confirmed Monday.

The full capacity of the cable has been disrupted in what is believed to have been an accident caused by a fishing boat dropping anchor, said Carrie Chan, business manager at Teleglobe Hong Kong. The cable can carry as much as 80G bps (bits per second) of data and is one of the major links between China and the U.S. mainland, where a preponderance of the world’s Web servers are located.

UUNet Technologies Inc., which leases five 155Mbps (megabits per second) connections from Hong Kong carrier Pacific Century CyberWorks Ltd. (PCCW), has had a full recovery of its connection after PCCW rerouted its capacity to another cable, said a spokeswoman for UUNET in Hong Kong.

Like the last break on Feb. 9, this one occurred off the Chinese coast near Shanghai, the UUNet spokeswoman said. It occurred at about 8 p.m. Friday. The cable is designed to eventually have a second wing that will create a recoverable ring structure, but currently, service providers using the China-U.S. cable need to turn to other cables or backup satellite connections when it fails.

A break in the cable on Feb. 9 put a huge dent in Internet access for users in China. Asia’s Internet connectivity depends on just a few submarine cables for the bulk of its Internet connectivity, leaving the region somewhat vulnerable to accidents.