January 31, 2016
With most of the major communications lines across the continents being via underwater cables, a submarine cable cut is a serious matter. Several cable cuts and natural disasters have affected the Asian region in the last couple of years. Another has just occurred in the Mediterranean resulting in major Internet slowdowns for much of the Middle East as well as India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.
According to a spokesman from Flag Telecom, the owners of the cut cable, “It is a problem off the coast of Alexandria in Egypt. For some reason ships were asked to anchor in a different place to normal – 8.3km from the beach. One of the ship’s anchors cut our cable but there are multiple cuts – we’re not the only company having problems.”
According to the spokesman, the company was in the process of getting a repair ship to assess the damage and start repair work, but he warned that this could take anywhere from 12 to 15 days to complete. This is not withstanding the fact that the ship is already in the Mediterranean.
Despite redundancy and contingency plans which allow for re-routing in just such a situation, the situation probably will still cause a lot of access issues to the affected regions due to the loss of so much bandwidth in one fell swoop. In addition to the direct impact on the affected areas, large UK and US businesses could also be indirectly impacted by this cable cut because some of them have outsourced their business processes and helpdesk functionality to companies in the affected regions.