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Protection of Submarine Optical Fibre Cables in the Strait of Malacca
M. Muneez

Submarine optical fibre cables are expensive and critical infrastructure that compels the most secure and reliable protection, especially in busy water-ways used for international shipping. This paper addresses the protection of telecommunication cables deployed in the Strait of Malacca. Not only is this waterway one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, it is extensively fished and dredged in some areas. Primary data were collected through an online survey and semi-structured interviews of telecommunication executives in Malaysia; secondary data was obtained through a review of the existing literature, technical documents, corporate media releases, white papers and other material. The coding and thematic analysis showed that burial of cable is mandatory in this busy sea-lane. High deployment and maintenance costs for submarine cables, in addition to human and ecological threats, were among the gravest challenges to deploying and protecting optical fibre cables at sea. The challenges were overcome through government support, risk mitigation, burial of cable to an optimal depth and other means.

Future investigations will need to examine the deployment and protection of submarine cables off the coast of East Malaysia. This paper aims to contribute to academic knowledge on telecommunications and specifically on the protection of submarine optical fibre cables at sea.

Keywords: Submarine optical fibre cable, Protection of submarine cables, Strait of Malacca

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