Basslink has completed the first stage of repairs to its damaged Bass Strait cable by laying 1355 metres of new cable on the seabed.
The company located the long-running fault on the electricity cable last month and advised a mid-June return to service. The faulted was first identified last December and has restricted electricity and data services to users since.
Basslink had initially forecast a late May restoration but later discovered water had penetrated the cable as a result of the fault, requiring a third joint.
The first joint was completed late last week, Basslink CEO Malcom Eccles informed customers.
"The works went well, and we are on track for return to service in June as previously advised," he said in a statement.
“The process was highly technical, and involved jointing a new length to the main high voltage cable, the metallic return cable and the fibre optic cable, before bundling them together to be laid as a single cable.”
Basslink will now load a 90-tonne reel of high voltage cable onto the Ile de Re, its repair vessel, and commence its final major mobilisation, which will take around five days.
The ship will then return to the fault location, about 90km off the Tasmanian coast, to complete the final two joints and lay the remaining cable and bight (extra loop of cable).
The company reminded its customers the jointing works were highly susceptible to weather conditions given they take place on the ship's deck, meaning calm sea conditions and clear weather will be needed for six days straight to stay on schedule.
"Every effort is being made to return the interconnector to service as soon as possible," the company said.
Basslink commenced its cut and cap operation to its data cable on March 11 to allow for emergency repairs to the adjacent and faulty electricity cable.
But the cut resulted in significantly degraded internet speeds for customers of the TPG-owned iiNet group after the ISP failed to switch enough capacity over to Telstra's subsea cables.
The problems stemmed from TPG's inheritance of insufficient redundancy plans as part of its acquisition of iiNet and Internode, iTnews later revealed.