Vietnam's internet back up to speed following major repair work to undersea cable

By Bao Anh   October 23, 2017 | 08:19 pm GMT+7

But there's no telling when the shaky connections will cut out again.

Internet connections in Vietnam have returned to normal as one of the two undersea cable systems that connect the country with the rest of the world has been fixed.

Work to repair the Asia America Gateway (AAG), which encountered a power failure and lost connection with its Hong Kong station on October 12, was finished on Sunday, three days ahead of schedule, according to local internet providers.

But the SEA-ME-WE 3 (SMW3) is still under repair since it broke on October 10. Rough seas off China have been blamed for the delay to repair work on the line, the longest of its kind in the world.

The latest incident marked the fourth time the AAG had encountered problems so far this year, following incidents in January, February and August. Repair works to the infamous cable system's ruptures in August were finished just two weeks ago.

It is the second time for the SMW3 this year, following an issue in late August which also coincided with the AAG and the Intra Asia (IA) rupturing.

Connected in November 2009, the $560-million AAG with a capacity of 2 terabits per second handles more than 60 percent of the country’s international internet traffic.

With a length of over 20,000 kilometers (12,420 miles), the cable connects Southeast Asia and the U.S., passing through Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

THe SMW3 was completed in late 2000 and runs 39,000 kilometers (24,200 miles), connecting Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe, as well as East Asia and Australia.

Vietnam currently has six submarine cable systems, as well as a 120 gigabit channel that runs overland through China.

With a download speed of 5.46 megabytes per second, Vietnam's internet speed was ranked 74th out of 189 countries and territories in a global survey of broadband speeds compiled by Cable.co.uk, a U.K. broadband, TV, phone and mobile provider, in August.

Vietnam's average broadband speed was 10 times lower than its Southeast Asian neighbor Singapore, according to the survey. However, the country still managed to trump six other countries in the region.

Nearly 49 million people in Vietnam, or more than half of the country’s population, are online.