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UPDATE Three of Jersey’s Vital Undersea Fibre Optic Cables Cut by Ship

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 (11:00 am) - Score 1,947

Reports are coming in that the English Channel Island of Jersey has suffered major telecoms and broadband disruption after a ship, which was dragging its anchor along the seabed, broken through three of the islands main undersea fibre optic cables.

The BBC reports that it could take local telecoms operator JT at least a week to repair the break(s) and in the meantime most of the local traffic will have to go the long way around via a separate cable to France (we assume they mean the INGRID cable).

All of this sounds a bit odd since there are four main cables coming into Jersey, but only two of those (the ones that run directly to Guernsey) are close-ish together and the others are some distance away.

The ship must have been dragging its anchor for a long time for this to happen on the third (UK-Channel Islands-8) of four cables. The fourth cable to France is safe due to being on the opposite side of Jersey.

Daragh McDermott, Director of Corporate Affairs for JT, said:

“We would like to sincerely apologise to our customers for any disruption to their services.

We are working as quickly as we can to get our undersea cables repaired, and normal service resumed, and will keep customers up-to-date with what is an extremely challenging emergency engineering operation at sea.

It is exceptionally unlucky and unprecedented for three submarine cables to the UK to be cut in the same day, and it proves the value of having multiple links in the network, in order to provide a back-up connection via France.

There are lots of cables running across the seabed, and we understand that it is not just JT who have been affected in this way, with other cables also having been cut.”

Locals are likely to experience connectivity and performance problems for awhile yet, which somewhat embarrassingly comes only a few days after JT boasted of having the best fixed line broadband and mobile speeds on the island (here).

UPDATE 1st December 2016

A liquefied petroleum gas tanker called King Arthur, which despite the name is registered to Italy, has been identified as the culprit. We also understand that only one of the cables is expected to be fixed within a week, while it might take until the end of December before the other two are reconnected.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar joe pineapples

    Could have been sabotage, time to call in Bergerac.

  2. Avatar Ignition

    Could be worse. Sky lose connectivity to the population of Jersey on a single fibre cut in a bunch of areas.

  3. Avatar Evan Crissall

    A list of submarine cables – power and telecom – to Channel Islands. Or so they tell us ;-


    Extraordinary, a fibre link running all way from Dartmouth to Channel Islands. A staggering 124km long. Without repeaters. How does that work? Or maybe, in truth, it doesn’t? And an even longer cable from Guernsey to Porthcurno, Cornwall. An eye-watering 270km. Wow!

    The first submarine fibre cable to Islands purportedly laid 1989. Before then, what did they do? The bankster-islanders use a lorra bandwidth. What with all the dirty money they are digitally transferring offshore.

    According to BBC Jersey, the severed cable was repaired (re-spliced) “using remote controlled underwater equipment from a specialist ship.”

    Delicate work. *snigger*


    1. UK-Channel Isles-7 (UK Guernsey) (1989) [1]

    Installed: 1989

    Length: 124 km [1] or 132 km [10]

    Location: Dartmouth, UK L’Ancresse Bay, Vale, Guernsey

    Description: 2.5 Gb/s [1][6][10], STM-16 (2,488.32 Mb/s) [13], 6 * 140 Mb/s, 12 fibres, 1.5 µm, unrepeatered [10]

    Operator(s): BT, Cable and Wireless Guernsey [1], the stated 6 * 140 Mb/s is assumed to be the original speed per source [13]

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