The latest in what appears to be a long line of undersea cable problems affecting Vietnam in recent years has brought comment from the General Secretary of the Vietnam Internet Association, Vu The Binh, who says that Vietnam needs at least two to three more undersea cable routes in the next five years to meet growing demand.
The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) explains that four (out of five) undersea cable routes used by Vietnamese carriers, including AAG, APG, AAE-1, and IA are experiencing issues that are seriously affecting internet connection traffic from Vietnam – and have been since late January.
This is the first time so many incidents have happened at the same time. That they took place during the busy Lunar New Year holidays was also unfortunate.
Operator Viettel has devised re-routing plans to regulate traffic on the remaining sea cable and land cables and buy additional emergency capacity, while the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) is also using measures to ensure international internet connections to its consumers.
These include sharing data loads between still available international lines, working with Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube, as well as optimising traffic on different cables. The VNA says that social media platforms, financial, banking, and insurance transactions and mobile data connections are still functioning. However, given that four out of five undersea cables have suffered breakages, data-heavy activity, like online games or watching movies, will probably be affected at busy times.
Major domestic service providers are actively working with submarine cable systems and ship operators to determine the cause of the issues, the location of the incidents and repair plans. Other smaller providers are trying to push more traffic onto land cables via China and Cambodia.
It may be rare for almost all undersea cable channels to have problems but, as we reported in 2021, breakdowns of undersea cables in general are not unusual, going back as far as 2017. Hence Binh’s suggestion that new cables are needed.