Submarine Cables that are responsible for Internet and telephone communications between the Asia and Europe are reportedly cut down between Italy and Egypt in the Mediterranean Sea.
In this mysterious activity (can be co-incidence as well) all three major undersea cables called SE-ME-WE3, SE-ME-WE4 and flag got damaged today. The failures cut the flow of internet and voice data between Europe and Asia, and there’s no time frame for when communications will be restored, reported bloomberg.
Slow browsing; poor throughput and high latency problems are being experienced throughout Gulf, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and neighboring countries.
For most of the countries, including Pakistan, traffic has been routed now via east bound.
Bloomberg further reports that priority will be to recover the SEA-ME-WE 4 cable, then the SEA-ME-WE 3 cable. There is information from France Telecom that Sea Me We4 could be operating by Dec. 25 and that the situation should be back to normal by Dec. 31.
Businesses, especially online one, call centers, BPOs and others are likely to be badly hit by this outage, which were already undergoing severe economic downfall these days.
The SMW4 cable, also known as SEA-ME-WE 4or South East Asia- Middle East-Western Europe 4 cable network, connects 12 countries: Pakistan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy and France.
Update: Internet and Voice traffic in Pakistan has returned back to its (almost) normal state.
Update (Monday, Dec 22, 2008): A French ship has begun repairing both SeMeWe3 and SeMeWe4, reported BBC News. A robot submarine will locate the ends of the cables on the sea bed and bring them to the surface to be re-connected.
It is reported that both of the cables were cut within 5 minutes of each other, possibly by a trawler net. Many parts of the Middle East remain badly affected due to cable cut.
BBC reports on the topic as following
Experts from France Telecom Marine arrived at the site of the damage to the SEA-ME-WE4 and SEA-ME-WE3 lines onboard the cable ship, Raymond Croze, at 1330 GMT on Sunday, spokesman Louis-Michel Aymard said.
They then sent a remotely-operated submarine robot called “Hector” to the sea bed to begin the search for the two ends of each line.
It is unclear how long repairs will take, as a ship could have dragged the cables several kilometres from their normal positions.
Once located, the cable ends will be brought to the surface by the robot and repairs will be carried out in a special facility on the ship – a process that could take days.
“We have to fix the cable fibre by fibre, and it’s a very huge cable,” Mr Aymard told the Associated Press.
France Telecom said it expected to repair SEA-ME-WE4 by 25 December and SEA-ME-WE3 by the end of the year.
A third line, operated by FLAG Telecom, was also cut and will be repaired by another ship.
In January the same line was damaged off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, severely disrupting internet and phone communications for many in the Middle East for days, although only two lines were snapped then.
A few hours before the three lines were cut, a suspected sub-sea earthquake damaged a local GO cable to Malta, severely disrupting communications to the island.
Update: SMW4 has been restored, hence communication in Pakistan is almost optimum.