Monday, December 22, 2008

Internet, telephone services disrupted by break in undersea cable news

(domain-b) Breaks in three major submarine cable systems - the Sea Me We 4, Sea Me We3, and FLAG - which link Europe, the Middle East and Asia, have disrupted internet and international telephone services in parts of the Middle East and South Asia.

While the extent of damage is yet to be assessed, most of the traffic between Europe and Asia has been re-routed through the US.

Traffic from Europe to Asia, including India, has been interrupted to some extent.

While this has considerably slowed down internet traffic in India, it has put much of the voice traffic out of services. India and the Middle East seem to be most affected by the current cable cut. The impact on voice traffic is as under:

Maldives: 100 per cent  
India: 82 per cent 
Qatar: 73 per cent
Djibouti: 71 per cent 
UAE: 68 per cent 
Zambia: 62 per cent 
Saudi Arabia: 55 per cent
Egypt: 52 per cent 
Pakistan: 51 per cent
Malaysia: 42 per cent
Taiwan: 39 per cent
Yemen: 38 per cent
Syria: 36 per cent
Lebanon: 16 per cent

A maintenance boat is on its way to the site of the cable cut, but it may take until Monday to reach there and it may take another week or two for things to get back to normal.

While the FLAG FEA, SMW4, and SMW3 lines have all been cut near the Alexandria cable station in Egypt, a fault has also been reported on the GO submarine cable 130 km off Sicily.

Reports say there was some seismic activity near Malta before the cuts were discovered, although the real cause of the break is not known as yet.

The SMW-3 and SMW-4 are owned by groups of phone companies, including Bharti Airtel, while FLAG cable systems is owned by Anil Ambani-led Reliance Globalcom.

The undersea cable systems reported a similar break in February this year, which slowed down internet traffic and IT-BPO operations for almost three weeks across India. Call centres of IT-BPO firms were the most affected then. 
Reports point to sabotage theories as well, even though the submarine cables can be broken or damaged by fishing trawlers, anchoring, undersea avalanches and even shark bites.

No comments: