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Major Underseas Internet Cables Damaged

Major Underseas Internet Cables Damaged

Three major underseas Internet cables running between Europe and Asia have been severely damaged...

The Internet networks company, Interoute, reports that three of the four Internet sub-cables that run from Asia to North America have been damaged.

France Telecom also confirmed this diagnosis, a statement released by the company said that Internet and phone communications between Europe, the Middle East and Asia had been severely severely disrupted since Friday after three undersea cables were damaged in the Mediterranean. The statement said the problem was unlikely to be an attack but noted that:

“The causes of the cut, which is located in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia, on sections linking Sicily to Egypt, remain unclear,”

France Telecom are sending a ship to fix the lines but this will not arrive till Monday. The company estimates it could take until December 31st before normal service is restored.

Most Internet business traffic between Europe and Asia is routed via the US, these connections remain in working order however, other regular communications between these two continents have been severely disrupted.

65% of traffic to India is down, service to Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Taiwan and Pakistan have also been severely affected.

The three damaged cables, owned by dozens of different countries, serve as vital arteries of the Internet. One cable connects 33 different countries and measures 25,000 miles (40,000 km), another is approx 12,500 miles (20,000 km) and serves 14 states.

These major sub-sea cables break on average, once a year. When this happens, traffic is re-routed through a second cable. But in this case, all three major lines have been damaged.

Underseas Internet Cable Damaged

Louis-Michel Aymard, a spokesman for France Telecom explained:

“If there was just one cable down we could have used the other two…
“But all three are down so this puts us in a very difficult situation…
“This is a very rare situation,”

Aymard said the company think the wire may have been damaged by trawlers’ nets or an underwater landslide. One appears to be fully severed, while the other two seemed to be only partially cut, he added.

The boat assigned to repair the damage will carry 20 kilometers of spare cable and should arrive on Monday.

But the network company Interoute say the recent outage has already caused untold amounts of damage and this is having a knock-on effect. Interoute says it is:

“Hearing that offices have lost their entire private network connectivity. As a result, users are unable to do their daily job over the Internet and are turning to their mobile phones to communicate across the globe. This is having a knock on effect on the domestic voice networks, which are getting a surge of calls needing to be routed internationally. These calls need to be routed onto international gateways that pass voice traffic in longer directions around the world to avoid the cable breaks – causing more quality issues and risk more call failures, in turn causing more calls to be placed and increasing the pressure on local voice networks.”

“This cable outage means there is no real-time access to, for example, trading ticker services. This means branch offices are compromised when trying to place trades. As private networks are being affected, these organizations are forced to rely on public Internet services that may have more latency and may not update as quickly. The loss of time even precious seconds is hugely important to trading exchanges. These public Internet services are now struggling to cope with peak in demand – leading to increased latency, and further compromising the integrity of the trading data”

At present, experts are still unclear of the total effects the damages will inflict on the Internet, but all are hopeful that regular service will be in place before the end of the year.

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