Framework of UNCLOS better for helping telecommunication companies handle disruptions to underseas cables
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Second, ratification of the Convention will also help U.S. companies better contend with disruptions to undersea cable service. For example, in March 2007, large sections of two active international cable systems in Southeast Asia were heavily damaged by commercial vessels from Vietnam and taken out of service for about three months. More than 106 miles of cable were removed from the seabed and repaired, at a cost of more than $7 million. It would have been very helpful if the United States, Verizon and other affected U.S. companies had been able to use the Convention to compensate cable owners, arbitrate disputes over service disruptions, and deter future violations.
Currently the vital U.S. underseas cable industry has to rely on the outdated 1884 telegraph treaty for its legal basis when defending its rights to lay, maintain, and repair underseas cables. U.S. ratification of UNCLOS would better protect U.S. companies’ existing cable systems and foster additional investments by giving telecommunications the legal certainty to their claims that they need.