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Undersea earthquake cuts Med cables: official

Posted By TelecomTV One , 07 January 2009 | 0 Comments | (0)
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Four cable cuts over the holiday season severely impacted Internet performance between Europe and Asia, while a subsequent cut on another section of the SEA ME WE 4 is expected to delay repairs until this week, operators and news agencies have reported.

According to France Telecom, SEA ME WE 3, SEA ME WE 4, and Reliance’s Flag were cut on the 19th of December under the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia, on sections connecting Sicily to Egypt.

Another cut was recorded later on the Reliance’s Go-1 cable connecting Sicily and Malta.

France Telecom told the IDG news service that the likely cause of the cuts is an underwater landslide caused by seismic activity in the area.

While the original cuts on SEA ME WE 4, Flag and Go-1 have been repaired over the period by both FranceTelecom and Reliance, the latest incident involving a second cut on the SEA ME WE 4 system is expected to be completed sometime this week, after which the cable ship will move to repair the damage on SEA ME WE 3, reports said.

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The incidents are the second multiple cable cut to have impacted the region last year, following a similar four-cable cut incident in February. Like the preceding incident, the cuts resulted in major disruptions in Internet traffic across the Middle East, India, and as far as Taiwan and Africa.

Following the latest cable impact, France Telecom estimated that voice traffic between Europe and Middle East, Asia and African countries to have suffered massive outages with service to the Maldives completely cut off immediately after the incident.

New cables coming into service between Europe and Asia, including the consortium-backed EIG and IMEWE, as well as Telecom Egypt’s TE North Cable, Orascom’s MENA system, and Flag’s HAWK cable, will add resiliency to the route and prevent such outages in the future, TeleGeography research director Alan Mauldin said.

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