back to article Jersey sore: Anchor rips into island's undersea cables, sinks net access

Internet speeds on the UK island of Jersey have been slashed – literally – after a ship's anchor destroyed three submarine cables linking the isle to the British mainland. Broadband speeds on the Channel island immediately slowed to a trickle after the data cables, owned by telco JT, and the voice traffic cable, owned by ISP …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Not so expensive

    So we are looking at 7-figure numbers, max?

    1. Brian Allan 1

      Re: Not so expensive

      And who picks up the bill for this negligent act? I hope it is the owner of the tanker.

  2. CanadianMacFan
    FAIL

    Redundancy

    The whole point of having multiple cables for redundancy is kind of lost if you lay then on the seabed where an anchor can cut all three in one go.

    1. Kernel

      Re: Redundancy

      Deciding where to lay a submarine cable involves a bit more than 'just here looks ok."

      As well as having the right beach conditions, the sea bottom between the landing sites needs to be suitable, existing cables need to be avoided if at all possible and you also need to avoid having some US TLA tell you "You can't put that there - no I'm not going to tell you why!"

      1. Lotaresco Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Redundancy

        "you also need to avoid having some US TLA tell you "You can't put that there - no I'm not going to tell you why!""

        Yes, because the CIANSAFBIWHY? have jurisdiction over international waters and the European continental shelf <rolls eyes>.

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Redundancy

      Reminds me of a story of a company putting in optical fibre and the plan calling for redundant links. They did have them, but they were unfortunately all in the conduits. Then someone dug up the road with undue care and attention and all hell broke loose.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Redundancy

        Oops - typo:

        "all in the same conduits"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Redundancy

          That sounds just like a University in Southampton, where all the safety of life, fire, disabled toilet and building alarms all depend on an off site it departments optical fibre piecemeal network, along with all the now Skype only telephones and normal it. Burning buildings down is a speciality activity of their Electronics and C SCI depth, during one outage the only reason the control room knew there was a fire alarm was down to the solitary security guard patrolling seeing a building emptying and going to investigate!

    3. Dale 3

      Re: Redundancy

      These three all lying together were probably more for capacity than redundancy. The link to France was the redundancy part, and it's doing as intended.

    4. TonyK

      Re: Redundancy

      In the very same sentence, Mr McDermott makes it clear that he is talking about the redundancy provided by the backup connection via France.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Chewi

    A few years ago, they might not have noticed much as ADSL speeds were never fantastic as far as I recall. Now much of the island has FTTP so I guess the effect will be more pronounced. Not that my parents would see any difference.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's fine.

    I'm right here on the island and haven't noticed any ill effects - we still have 1 of the 4 links to other countries, one to France. It's not as bad as we feared, and a ship is already in place to splice one of the broken cables back together.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's fine.

      I'm right here on the island and haven't noticed any ill effects

      Presumably you're only streaming French art house cinema? It will be your neighbours looking for hot US West Coast silicone who are finding things on a go slow.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "on the UK island of Jersey"

    Oh dear, you're lucky the inhabitants of that Crown Dependency are so laid back, and separated from the UK by a fair amount of sea...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

      "the UK island of Jersey"

      I don't think it is. It's a actually a British Crown Dependency.

      Very, very big difference, which will no doubt upset the UKIP and other empire believers.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

      Honestly, we kinda just wanted to see what reaction we'd get.

      C.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

        >Honestly, we kinda just wanted to see what reaction we'd get.

        "Jersey, the island we nicked from the French," would have been better ... why do they have cables to the UK anyway ? France is much, much closer!

        icon: J'ai vu Paris (Charles Aznavour)

        1. Uberseehandel

          Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

          Quote - "Jersey, the island we nicked from the French,"

          and there I was thinking the Channel Islands belonged to the Normans, who nicked England from the English.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

            From the English or from the Saxons, who weren't English either, AFAIK?

            1. phuzz Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

              "England", or "English" come from a corruption of Angland, or 'land of the Angles', of Anglo-Saxon fame.

              So the Normans nicked it off the English, who had nicked it off the Britons who had... well, you get the idea, we're a land of immigrant mongrels.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

                "well, you get the idea, we're a land of immigrant mongrels."

                The Normans were other Vikings who had invaded the area now called France - and then settled down to rule parts of it.

                "Norman" presumably drives from "Nord Man" = "North Man".

                1. alferdpacker

                  Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

                  mmm, no, I think it's just that they were all called Norman

            2. boltar Silver badge

              Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

              "From the English or from the Saxons, who weren't English either, AFAIK?"

              England = Angle Land.

              And it does amuse me the number of people who seem to think that before the Angles & Saxons rocked up that what was to become England was a land filled with blond haired blue eyed pure bred celts all speaking some ancestor of Welsh. Perhaps they've forgotten about the Roman Empire which ruled Brittania for FOUR HUNDRED years. Any pure bred celts had long since be consigned to the corners of the british isles by the time Rome left and a lot of people would have been speaking some version of Latin.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

                "Any pure bred celts had long since be consigned to the corners of the british isles by the time Rome left and a lot of people would have been speaking some version of Latin."

                The general archaeological view seems to be that most of the Romano-British population were the descendants of the pre-Roman Iron Age population who had simply adopted elements Roman culture. The colonia, however, would have added retired legionaries although these were recruited from across the empire.

                1. boltar Silver badge

                  Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

                  "The general archaeological view seems to be that most of the Romano-British population were the descendants of the pre-Roman Iron Age population who had simply adopted elements Roman culture. The colonia, however, would have added retired legionaries although these were recruited from across the empire."

                  Quite so, but over the course of 400 years you're going to have enough relationships (consensual or not) between romans and the locals that by the time the last legionary left its highly unlikely that many people at least in the south of england were 100% celtic especially given many non british roman citizens probably stayed behind anyway.

              2. Commswonk Silver badge

                Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

                Any pure bred celts had long since be consigned to the corners of the british isles by the time Rome left and a lot of people would have been speaking some version of Latin.

                Tu sunt rectam, amicus meus.

              3. Dexter

                Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

                The Celts only arrived sometime in the Iron Age (probably around 500BC), displacing the Britons who were already here. So they are incomers as well. The previous (non Celtic, and probably non-Indo-European) language still survives in some place names, but not much else.

                Doubtless there were other waves of migration before that.

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

                  "Doubtless there were other waves of migration before that."

                  Especially when what we now call Doggerland was still above the waterlevel and what is now the UK was just an outcropping of the rest of europe. There doesn't appear to be any archaeological evidence of any border controls either so it was just a free for all as far immigrants were concerned. Anyone brave enough to hitch a lift on a Mammoth was in.

                  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

                    Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

                    Sure is Alt-Right in here.

                    I approve of this (somewhat)

            3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

              "From the English or from the Saxons, who weren't English either, AFAIK?"

              Pretty well the same thing - Anglo Saxons. They weren't Britons, however.

              And, of course the Normans were Vikings who'd nicked a bit of France from the French.

            4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

              English or from the Saxons, who weren't English either

              Angles, Saxons and Jutes - all slightly different shades of the same old Germanic swatch..

              (BTW - The Saxons referred to themselves as English [or the equivalent Saxon spelling of the word] so I think we can quantify them as English..)

              Not Modern English though - we are a thoroughly mongrel[1] race and proud to be so - those of us who are not UKIP/BNP nutters anyway.

              [1] My surname is probably Norse-derived, my family roots are in Forest of Dean even though my Dad was born in Yorkshire, my mother is half-Welsh and was born in Dorset. My wife has a blood type that is most common on the Iberian Peninsula [even though she is Cornish/Devon] whilst mine is the prototypical Celtic.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

                1. Lotaresco Silver badge
                  Meh

                  Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

                  "Stewart Lee"

                  There are people who think Steward Lee is a comedian and a separate group who can count up to 20 without removing their socks.

              2. boltar Silver badge

                @crazyOldCatMan

                "those of us who are not UKIP/BNP nutters anyway."

                Whilst the BNP may be obsessed with race, UKIP is concerned with EU control and immigration numbers and nothing to do with race. Unless you're saying that the Polish (for example) are a different race to the English. If so which race are they? As someone who voted UKIP I'm afraid I'm a bit tired of the same old tar with the same brush BS one gets from those of the left because its too much effort (or too hard) for them to differentiate. It would be like me saying Polly Toynbee is no different to Stalin simply because they're both on the left.

                1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
                  Black Helicopters

                  Re: @crazyOldCatMan

                  > Whilst the BNP may be obsessed with race, UKIP is concerned with EU control and immigration numbers

                  Pah, we're all bloody immigrant, we're all bloody Africans when it comes down to it.

                  Back to the topic of the story, are we sure it was an accident?

                  Or were these sub-sea cables dug up as Jersey wasn't monitoring their populations browsing habits properly and now there a chance to splice in some proper monitoring equipment?

                  Mine's the one with the black helicopter and tin foil hat in the pockets.

                  1. boltar Silver badge

                    Re: @crazyOldCatMan

                    "Pah, we're all bloody immigrant, we're all bloody Africans when it comes down to it."

                    We're all bacteria if you go back far enough, so what? That reductio ad absurdum argument is just a lazy dismissal of a situation that is clearly too complex for people like you to discuss.

                    1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
                      Facepalm

                      @boltar

                      > situation that is clearly too complex for people like you to discuss.

                      Hardly, I just happen to enjoy winding racists up, that's all.

                      I also enjoy winding up extremist white supremacist Christians by reminding them that Jesus was an Arab Jew and so quite unlikely to be blue eyed and blond.

                      Now I wondering which camp of people I enjoy winding up you'd put yourself in. I suspect neither of the above.

                      Now have a nice day

                      1. boltar Silver badge

                        @dazed and stupid

                        Wind up? Not very good at it are you. Is the standard issue lefty mewling "waaacist" really the best you can do? Have another go mate.

                        Oh , and Jesus was a judean who spoke Aramaic and Hebrew you clueless gimp, not an Arab.

                        1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

                          Re: @boltar

                          I really believe that is the first time in my life anyone has suggested that I'm a lefty. I'm impressed by your originality, but you clearly didn't read what I wrote. You normally write quite sensible things here. What I had said which you failed to read was that I suspect that you wouldn't consider yourself of either of those things.

                          Please read carefully before picking up the flame thrower.

                          1. boltar Silver badge

                            Re: @boltar

                            "Please read carefully before picking up the flame thrower."

                            Note to self - don't post late at night when tired. :)

                2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                  Re: @crazyOldCatMan

                  If you read the Guardian, you'll learn that Stalin was right wing because he was a naughty boy.

                  The fact that he was actually left wing has nothing to do with it.

                  1. TeeCee Gold badge
                    WTF?

                    Re: @crazyOldCatMan

                    ...The fact that he was actually left wing...

                    Personally I reckon that at the extremes, "left"and "right" are indistinguishable anyway. Totalitarianism vs. Libertarianism is where the important action is and on that scale, Hitler and Stalin are one and the same politically.

                    Greatest giggle right now is the Corbynite "Momentum" types describing anyone who disagrees with them as a Nazi. I find the idea of being called a Nazi by a bunch of frothing anti-Semites, who also seem to think that threats of extermination and kicking people's windows in are valid political strategies, somewhat ironic.

                    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                      Re: @crazyOldCatMan

                      Stalin ran a centrally planned economy. However you slice it, that's left wing.

                      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

                        Re: @crazyOldCatMan

                        "Stalin ran a centrally planned economy."

                        As did Hitler, or technically Göring as he was in charge of it, when setting up the Vierjahresplanbehörde in 1936.

                        BTW, Nazi is shorthand for Nationalsozialismus.

                        No, I think I'll go with the 'it's totalitarianism vs libertarianism' argument as posted above. Assholes are assholes, any which way you dress them up.

                        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

                          Re: @crazyOldCatMan

                          That's because Hitler was left wing. Only crazy-arsed nationalistic left wing.

                          The big irony of the 20th century is that this was successfully buried under the wreckage of the Monster Battle of European Socialist Regimes.

                        2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                          Re: @crazyOldCatMan

                          We know Hitler was left wing too, but that he was right wing is even taught in schools, so I wasn't going to touch that one.

                          Arseholes are arseholes, yes, but my original point was that on the Graun, one must be described as rightwing to be deemed an arsehole, whether that's accurate or not.

              3. Lotaresco Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

                The Jutes were famously stiff, rather abrasive but very hard wearing.

              4. H in The Hague Silver badge

                Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

                "My wife has a blood type that is most common on the Iberian Peninsula [even though she is Cornish/Devon]"

                In the Iberian Peninsula you can find some interesting Celtic artefacts, v similar to what I've seen in Ireland. And one of my Scottish friends who emigrated to Portugal discovered that some of the music they play on their bagpipes there is very similar to what he grew up with.

                Guess we're all immigrants, just some more recent arrivals than others.

                1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

          The Duchy of Normandy nicked England from the English.

          France nicked all of the Duchy of Normandy from the Normans, except for the Channel Islands.

      2. AndrueC Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: "on the UK island of Jersey"

        Honestly, we kinda just wanted to see what reaction we'd get.

        Causing outrage amongst us commentards? Where's the sport in that?

  6. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    An entertaining story, but I think probably, when the fuss dies down a bit, it will turn out that someone unplugged the cables so they could run a vacuum cleaner or boil a kettle. My experience has been that network failures run as follows:

    Vacuum Cleaner : 65%

    Coffee Time! : 20%

    Idiots with a big carbide wheel cutting up the street : 5%

    Jim from Spares taking it upon himself to "tidy" wiring closet : 5%

    Horseplay with the forklift, compressor and sundry other kit : 4%

    Miscellaneous electronic infrastructure failures : 1%

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!

      How about "Coverup for TLA shenanigans"?

    2. theModge

      Re: Bah!

      ...Because forklift jousting is safe and fun for all the family!

    3. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      "Jim from Spares taking it upon himself to "tidy" wiring closet : 5%"

      I used to work for an organisation that needed clocks to be accurate. They had an MSF timeserver. It suddenly started being unreliable after years of good service. The reason turned out to be some idiot getting into the crawl space who kept finding a length of wire only connected at one end, so he cut it off "to be tidy". The engineer would replace it when he found that it was missing because it was the radio clock aerial. It took ages to find which idiot was cutting off the aerial because he wasn't on site most weeks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bah!

        Why didn't they label it "Radio Aerial - DO NOT REMOVE" ?

        Or splice on (with a non-conductive join - but an observer wouldn't know) an extra cable leading from it, which would disappear into a wall; enough to make it seem it's one cable not to be messed with :)

  7. Ole Juul Silver badge

    Luckily the cables are in relatively shallow waters . . .

    Well that's exactly why the problem occurred in the first place. It's six of one and half a dozen of the other.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Luckily the cables are in relatively shallow waters . . .

      Easily accessible to repair crews and boat anchors alike.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Luckily the cables are in relatively shallow waters . . .

        Actually, it is more difficult for cable ships to repair damaged cables in shallow waters than deep, even those damaged by SHIP'S anchors

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Luckily the cables are in relatively shallow waters . . .

      In fairness, cables do have to traverse an element of shallow waters to make landfall.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An exemplary case of...

    .... Fibrexit!!

  9. M7S

    Just thinking

    The cream of the Russian navy passed through those waters not long ago. Now I'm not suggesting there's any connection but what would it take to cut off, say the UK by a belligerent party?

    Are cables the sorts of things you can find and plant little devices on to be triggered en masse and remotely at a future date, or are they regularly "patrolled" in some way by say a remote underwater vehicle to check for such things/natural hazards etc?

    Could the same also be done in respect of the power interconnect(s?) between ourselves and the continent?

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Just thinking

      'Are cables the sorts of things you can find and plant little devices on'

      Read 'Blind Man's Bluff' for the full details, but in short, yes. Although in that case the devices weren't designed to blow up...

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Just thinking

      Tabloid headline now! We need to get some head of steam up, here:

      "PUTIN'S CABLE BREAK!"

      and on page 2:

      "NATO CUT TO THE BONE!"

  10. Nifty

    after glue has been applied?

    Tech question here - does sticking optical fibre back together reduce it's data throughput compared to before the cut?

    1. Karl Austin

      Re: after glue has been applied?

      Sticking is a crude term. It'll most likely be fusion spliced, so very very precisely melted back together. It'll degrade the signal strength, splices always do, but as long as there's enough power margin then it should all run the same as before.

      1. patrickstar

        Re: after glue has been applied?

        Generally speaking, cable covering a longer distance is already likely to be spliced in a lot of places - there are limits to how big rolls of cable can be after all. Especially sea cable that's typically quite tick due to armor, possibly power supply to amplifiers/regenerators (which of course are spliced in as well), etc.

        In this case the cable isn't exactly on the scale of crossing the Atlantic, but like the previous poster said, the loss from a properly done fusion splice is very small. Unless the transmission equipment is located right at the landing site there are still gonna be a lot of them regardless. Especially if it's located in some city - in a metro network you can easily have 10 splice/patch points just going from one end to the other.

        1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

          Re: after glue has been applied?

          Oddly enough, at least one of the cables (HUGO) is reclaimed transatlantic cable - it was built from cable reclaimed from Gemini South.

          http://www.bratch.co.uk/channelislandssubmarinecables.html

          http://atlantic-cable.com//Cables/CableTimeLine/index1951.htm (To find info on Gemini South)

          http://atlantic-cable.com//Cables/CableTimeLine/index2001.htm (To find info on HUGO)

      2. I am the liquor
        Joke

        Re: as long as there's enough power margin then it should all run the same as before.

        Presumably people laying submarine fibres always specify enough power margin to cope with the covert beamsplitters that the NSA, GCHQ, Russians and Chinese are probably going to install on it, so a little repair should be no problem.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I were them...

    I'd leave the cables routing via France, as far away from May and her spies as possible!

    1. MrZoolook
      Thumb Up

      Re: If I were them...

      Wonder if I can find a long enough reel of Cat5e? 150km should do it.

  12. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Pirate

    At least they know where to send the invoice

    I assume the owners of said LNG tanker will be picking up the tab for the repairs?

    Cap'n won't be getting a Christmas bonus, methinks.

    1. Julz

      Re: At least they know where to send the invoice

      That would be Terranea di Navigazione s.p.a

      http://www.mediterraneanav.it/fleet

  13. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Maybe this is actually the Jersey Balliwick moving pre-emptively to thwart the new back-door friendly legislation being -h-a-n-d-w-a-v-e-d- "debated" in th UK.

  14. JaitcH
    Unhappy

    What a Pity! On the very day that ...

    the Tap Anything rules came into play and the GCHQ are losing all the data about bent banking in Jersey.

    Poetic!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: What a Pity! On the very day that ...

      [citation needed]

  15. JJKing Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    And what an excellent history lesson about the Romans, Celts, Saxons, all because some twat of a captain parks his boat in a restricted area. Don't they have a GPS doodad in those boaty things?

  16. Number6

    The King Arthur

    Was it captained by a J Arthur?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gluing the cable back together? If it was only that easy, find one end, cleave and join on a length of cable, pay out whilst finding second cable end, and the correct one in this case, lift cleave and joint to new length, drop back onto seabed if deep, bury if 'shallow'. If Alcatel cables add several days for delays in Alcatel's 'inspector' to join ship, cleaning all the tar and bitumen out of the cable so you can actually joint it and reseal the core by injection molding polyethylene around the core, that's after trying to 'weld' the fiber cores together, a 10 percent chance of success with each individual core with Alcatel's manual fusion splicers their inspector insists you use is considered to be good, instead of the automated Japanese fusion splicers with a 99 percent first time success rate. Yes I worked in that 'industry', and its hard, dirty and dangerous work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was very impressed when we had a Japanese fusion splicer to play with at work... after imaging the outside of the then-fused fibre, it even gave an estimated insertion-loss for the joint!

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