The Tech Herald

Broken cables by UAE and Egypt repaired

by Steve Ragan - Feb 12 2008, 01:00

Services on two out of the three cables that were damaged recently were repaired over the weekend according to an Indian-owned cable operator. The repair restores Internet services to parts of the Middle East and Asia. (Photo: DL Ritter)

Services on two out of the three cables that were damaged recently were repaired over the weekend according to an Indian-owned cable operator. The repair restores Internet services to parts of the Middle East and Asia.

According to reports from news and ISP's, almost two weeks ago service was lost to south Asia and parts of the Middle East when two sections of cables near Egypt’s northern most coast were broken. The breaks caused outages in most of UAE, later to be followed by the breaks in the cables between Oman and Dubai.

FLAG Telecom, a child company to India's Reliance Communications, said in a statement on Sunday the breaks in the FEA and Falcon cables were repaired, and the services that were previously re-routed are back on their original lines. "The customer circuits have been normalized on FEA and Falcon that were earlier restored on alternate routes due to cable cut last week," the statement says.

VSNL said they had restored a majority of their IP connectivity into the MENA region within twenty-four hours of the Egypt cable breakdown. On January 30, 2008, the SEA-ME-WE 4 and other undersea cables were severed off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. These cables serve as the principal Internet connections between the Middle East and westward on to Europe and North America. They also connect the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia. The impact of the cut cables resulted in degraded Internet service to and from the Middle East. VSNL has an Internet backbone that circles the world allowing both eastward and westward connectivity from all regions, a major differentiator among carriers. This allowed VSNL to restore service quickly to almost everyone who lost connectivity.

The International Cable Protection Committee, an association of eighty-six submarine cable operators, told Reuters that more than ninety-five percent of transoceanic telecoms and data traffic are carried by submarine cables and the rest by satellite. In 2006, there was another outage, caused by a 7.1 scale earthquake, which took out nine underwater cables between the Philippines and Taiwan. The result was a loss of connection between Southeast Asia and the rest of the globe. After the earthquake, it was another fifty days before service was restored completely.

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