FACTBOX: Recommendations for securing undersea cables

(Reuters) - Investors should urgently diversify the web of undersea cables that serve as the world’s information and banking arteries to address soaring demand and piracy concerns and reduce the risk of catastrophic outages, a new report says.

Here are recommendations contained in the report from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the EastWest Institute think tank.

1. There should be separate global cable paths to avoid “single points of failure.” Participants in the industry should advocate this to nations that control the land and waters where potential alternative paths would run.

2. Speed up cable repairs by reducing government approval times for repair work. “Repair times are already long.”

3. Prepare for hostile maritime crises: National governments should cooperate with each other and the private sector to develop plans to protect the cables and the vessels that help operate the network.

4. The private sector should establish formal means for sharing information to improve the protection and rapid restoration of undersea communications cable infrastructure.

5. The private sector should establish a new international governance framework for global cable infrastructure.

6. The financial sector should do a better job of defining its expectations of cable networks.

7. The private sector should find a way to provide basic reliability performance statistics to stakeholders.

8. Governments should implement best practices for protecting undersea communications cables within their waters.

9. Governments and the private sector should establish a best practice model for inter-agency coordination on undersea cables, to ensure consistent policies and practices.

10. While the increasing rate of global dependence on cables climbs steeply, there is no corresponding growth in awareness of this. The cable industry should launch an educational campaign.

11. Network operators, service providers and other stakeholders should develop and implement ways to handle traffic overload for undersea communications cable infrastructure.

12. Experts and stakeholders should prepare for the worst-case scenario of a catastrophic loss of global undersea communications infrastructure by identifying alternatives and procedures. The financial services sector can play a lead role in helping establish the importance of this concern.

Compiled by William Maclean, Editing by Lin Noueihed