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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Undersea Broken Cables’ Repair Process Started Off

Cable operators announced the start off of repair works at two of the three broken undersea cables that were disrupted last week outside the Egyptian city of Alexandria, causing Internet access problems throughout Middle East and India. The repair works will take at least a week to be completed, according to Flag Telecom, one of the firms responsible for the cable.

The cause of the disruption remains unknown, as cable operators are working on restoring the Internet connections as soon as possible. According to several reports, India has lost 60% of its bandwidth, and according to Rajesh Chharia, president of the Internet Service Providers’ Association, things aren’t expected to return to normal for the next 10 days.

The investigations continue, but more information is to be expected as soon as all the repairing crews will reach the broken cables. One of the theories was that a tanker might have dragged its anchor on the sea bed, but the Egyptian communication ministry said no ships were reported in the area at the time of the disruption.

Not all cables have been damaged simultaneously. On January 30, Flag Telecom Europe-Asia cable and SEA-ME-WE-4 cable were disrupted outside the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, and two day later, on February 1st, the Falcon cable, also owned by Flag Telecom, was damaged 56 km from Dubai. Consequently one question appears: Could this be a simple coincidence?

The impact in countries around the Gulf Region and South Asia had been minimized through redirecting communication services to new routes, but it is certain that Internet connection haven’t exactly been the best following the unfortunate incident. Egypt for example lost 70% of its Internet capacity and will continue to face this problem within the next week and a half.

The repair teams have been delayed by bad weather conditions on the Egyptian and Dubai coasts. At the same time, conspiracy theories have appeared, according to which the ‘perfect timing’ was simply too perfect to be a coincidence, and this whole thing could be an attempt to deprive some Islamic countries of Internet access. More details on the exact causes of the disruption are to be expected within the next week.


CAIRO, EGYPT: Work starts on cut Internet cable

A repair ship began work in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday at the site where an Internet cable was cut last week, and a second vessel was to arrive later at the spot north of Egypt to work on two other cables cut two days earlier, FLAG Telecom said.

The cuts have disrupted Internet services across much of the Mideast and India.

There has been speculation that the cuts were caused by ships' anchors that dragged along the bottom of the sea in stormy weather. But Egypt's telecommunication ministry said no ships were registered near the first cable cut.

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