Papua New Guinea's DataCo has secured and scheduled a repair vessel for mid-October to carry out repair work on multiple cable breakages in Madang, following last month's earthquake.

However the company has warned customers to continue to expect connectivity issues until these cables are fixed.

Papua New Guinea
– Getty Images

It follows the earthquake which struck Papua New Guinea on September 11, which recorded 7.6 on the Richter scale and killed 12 people, according to updated reports.

In a statement DataCo chief executive Paul Komboi apologized for the continued disruption, warning users in Mamose, Highlands, and the New Guinea islands region to expect a "degraded user experience" due to limited satellite capacity being available during this period.

But a repair vessel has been scheduled to arrive in the country mid-way through this month to carry out repairs. In the meantime, DataCo said it has worked with its partners to temporarily migrate all mission-critical or priority services onto the limited satellite capacity, reports The Post Courier.

The earthquake last month meant telecom services across Papua New Guinea were severely impacted, with the regional power grid, and Internet cables disrupted. State-owned DataCo confirmed there had been multiple breakages between 17km and 170km out of Madang.

These damaged cables included the Pipe Pacific Cable (PPC) 1, an international cable that connects Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Guam.

It's also disrupted the KSCN System 1 which connects to Momase and the New Guinea Islands region, and KSCN System 2, an express link between Madang and the capital Port Moresby.

Subsea cable repairs took more than a month in Tonga in the wake of an undersea volcano eruption. While the international cable has been fixed, the domestic cable linking the local islands is not expected to be fully repaired until next year due to a lack of available cable. Though both ends of the cable were found, more than 100km of cable between the two points was missing and likely buried under debris and a local replacement is unlikely to be easily sourced.

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