Internet Outage Affects India, Pakistan, Middle East

Internet services have been disrupted in parts of the Middle East after damage to an undersea cable in the Mediterranean. There was disruption to 70% of the nationwide network in Egypt, a government official told Reuters. There was also disruption in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, reported the Associated Press. India also suffered up to 60% disruption, a national industry body told Reuters news agency.
Blogger Masud Reza from Pakistan is reporting that Pakistan is also affected by this outage. Mesud's post says:
"At approx. 11:30am today, the SMW4 Segment 4 Sumbarine Cable went down due to a fiber cut between Marseille and Palermo due to which the Internet connectivity in Pakistan is severely affected.
At this moment, TWA1 customers are suffering the most. PTCL has switched it's Internet traffic from SMW4 to SMW3.
Let's hope that this fault is repaired soon since degraded Internet service cripples internet for business.
Update: A ship has left Italy for repairing the fault. However, timelines indicated by SMW4 are anywhere from twelve to fourteen days!!"

This latest disruption reminds me of June 2005 outage of ALL Internet access in Pakistan due to damage to the lone undersea fiber optic cable in the Arabian Sea connecting Pakistan with the rest of the world. This cable is owned by a 92-nation international consortium and operated by SingTel, the Singapore telecommunications company. There were satellite link but these links have very limited bandwidth. Even though the number of Internet users in Pakistan is relatively small at about 15-20 million, the impact on business was disproportionate. Traders on KSE reported as much as 80% drop in trading volume from this outage. All call center activities and other BPO vendors were severely affected.

In February 2006, there was another brief disruption when Pakistan’s first undersea fiber optic cable, SMW3, was damaged causing interruption in the country’s Internet and voice traffic. However, there was no breakdown in any part of the country, as the recently-commissioned submarine cable, SMW4, was fully operational. Since then, yet another submarine cable, TWA1, has also been added. While the two additional cables have made Pakistan less vulnerable, the growing use and bandwidth requirements in Pakistan will continue to strain these cables, unless additional capacity is added on a regular basis.

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Here's ZDNet on fiber optic cable to connect Pakistan with China:

Huawei is working on a project which will connect Pakistan and China, through fiber-optic cable.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) on Monday, citing an unnamed source at Huawei, the connection will run from the countries' borders near Khunjerab to Rawalpindi, spanning a distance of 820km. The project will cost US$44 million and will be completed within a span of two years, the report noted.

The new connection will help with connectivity issues and assuage security concerns in Pakistan, the source added. At the moment the country is connected to the Internet through a few undersea cables so the new connection will bring added redundancy which can reduce Internet downtime and additional security.

The project is also expected to stimulate trade, tourism and IT awareness in the region and generate economic opportunities, the source added, noting it is set to generate revenue of 1.5 billion rupees (US$24.3 million) in its first three years.

In March this year, a fiber optic cable in the Arabian Sea near Karachi got cut and resulted in nearly 50 percent decrease in Internet speed across Pakistan, affected almost 50 percent of Pakistan's Internet traffic.


http://www.zdnet.com/cn/huawei-to-build-fiber-optic-cable-between-pakistan-china-7000019035/

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