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Summary:

Monday Update: Over the weekend repair crews were dispatched for all three cables. Engineers arrived at the SEA-ME-WE3 and SEA-ME-WE4 cables on Sunday. India, Singapore, and about 80 percent of Egypt (according to the Egyptian government) regained internet service. Reliance said it expects the FLAG cable […]

Monday Update: Over the weekend repair crews were dispatched for all three cables. Engineers arrived at the SEA-ME-WE3 and SEA-ME-WE4 cables on Sunday. India, Singapore, and about 80 percent of Egypt (according to the Egyptian government) regained internet service. Reliance said it expects the FLAG cable break to be repaired this week. The cause of the cuts remains unclear.

Update: Research firm TeleGeography emailed us that three international submarine cables in the Mediterranean Sea were damaged today, causing disruptions to internet and phone traffic in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India and all of the Gulf states. TeleGeography pinpoints the faults  between Tunisia and Italy, and claims the damaged cables are the FLAG Europe-Asia cable, operated by Reliance Globalcom, and two consortium cables, SeaMeWe-3 and SeaMeWe-4 owned jointly by several telecommunications companies. From the TeleGeography statement:

The current series of faults is reminiscent of the submarine cable faults that occurred in January 2008. Today’s events have the potential to create worse disruptions: while the January 2008 accidents broke two of the three cables connecting Europe with Asia via the Middle East, Friday’s cable failures have caused faults on all three. France Telecom projects that service on all cables will be restored by December 31. Until then, many carriers in the Middle East and South Asia will need to route their European traffic around the globe, through South East Asia and across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

cable_breaks_dec08 It’s unknown if the Malta cable problems are related to these cuts, perhaps from a weather or seismic event. However in the online world the cuts are certainly related in how they will make it that much slower or impossible for users to connect around the world. (Malta cable cut report published earlier follows.)

In a reminder of both the frailty and the flexibility of the web, the Times of Malta is reporting that last night, a submarine cable delivering traffic to subscribers of GO’s broadband service experienced a “fault.” Thousands of Maltese lost their web connections.  Combine Malta’s experience with the earlier epidemic of a few undersea cables getting cut over a period of days, and a fight by Sprint and Cogent in the U.S. over peering agreements that cut off the web for some users, and it becomes clear that we should consider the web not only as physical infrastructure, but also held together by political and economic agreements.

It’s like an information superhighway, but also a like series of treaties that allow trade to various points of the globe. In Malta’s case, an agreement with Vodafone to share its cable kept the physical infrastructure from staying out. But as the Sprint/Cogent peering fight proved, when those agreements fail, the web is vulnerable in a way roads are not.

  1. May be they can use the Maltese Falcon to carry messages around – though pigeons are better at this sort of a thing.

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  2. [...] tuned for more…Related articles: Cable cutter nutters chase underwater conspiracies Malta Undersea Cable FAIL Is the internet going down? Undersea sub-cables… Posted Under : CloudNews Tags [...]

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  3. Thousands were left without a connection till today 19th Dec at around 11:50am (GMT+1), where the services started returning very slowly.

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  4. what breaks under water cables ? fish with cutting torches ?

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  5. @Scott Brooks: The most common causes of submarine cable cuts, by far, are fishing boats and ship’s anchors.

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  6. Are these cables actually laid NEAR each other?

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  7. There doesn’t seem to be any visible disruption in Internet services this time around in India. Didn’t hear any complaints from any of my friends.
    -Tarun

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  8. how about Pakistan, are they facing the problem like India and Egypt?

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  9. Geography anyone? Malta is that larger island right off the coast of Italy as labeled in the map?

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  10. I am facing the same problem. But the real problem is that my ISP (Airtel India) kept telling lies. First they told that they are upgrading their routers and things will be normal in two hours, then the support guy tried to convince me that there is something wrong with the DNS, when I told him to update is knowledge as I am not even using the ISP DNS services; He told me that the under sea cables have been damaged. I don’t know why they want to hide the truth from their customers or may be the tech support is provided with some canned responses to tell to the customers every time without check the real problem.

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  11. I am facing problems bigtime (ISP- Tata Indicom),European and traffic to US via east coast seem to be in real bad shape for me (the metric is bytes now!).

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  12. @Tony: Nopes! thats Sicily, Malta is the little island under it the one GO-1 line connects to it,

    damn am fed up with these cable cuts!!! it took abt 3 mins for this page to load!!!! and yesterday we stayed for 11 hours without internet access at all,!!!

    Yousef Elgadi,

    Tripoli, Libya

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  13. my ping jumped up about 500ms when this happned hope they fix it soon -.- i want to play dota for gods sake

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  14. [...] cables linking Europe and Asia, which were damaged by ships early this year, have reportedly been cut again causing severe disruption to internet and voice traffic in the Middle East and other parts of [...]

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  15. Husain Al-asfoor Saturday, December 20, 2008

    I am an Omani, and my internet as at the speed of 3 kb/s MAXIMUM.

    Everyone here in the gulf is facing problems. It all started with the egyptian ship that threw there ancourage on the first two cables…
    By the end of December at least half of us internet users here will commit suicide from the F’in slow speed.

    It will at least another 5 – 10 mins to post this comment
    ahhhhhhh im dying here… SOMEONE SAVE US

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  16. Here in U.A.E we have problems with voice.We can’t call to india by pc2phone.call is going but no clarity.

    We can able to surf but sometimes net disconnecting.

    Hope will soon be ok.

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  17. Anybody knows about egyptian situation?When it will be ok again??I CANT WAIT!!!!!Me too I hope it will be ok very soon.

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  18. I want to play Silkroad online :( …. so i have to wait till december 31 st ??? …. and my dam isp told me it will be fixed in 2 days +- :…..(

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  19. In other words, an ideal target for terrorists…whether they have the capability to cut the lines is another question…

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  20. Does somebody know of the Internet and Phone lines are also damaged in Lybia?

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  21. [...] cables linking Europe and Asia, which were damaged by ships early this year, have reportedly been cut again causing severe disruption to internet and voice traffic in the Middle East and other parts of Asia. [...]

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  22. i m facing problems while opening some web sites . what has gone wrong with internet, i am not able to know what is going wrong: is this a web site problem or is it linked with the cable connection which broke up………………it’s really making a lot of problems for internet users. IT sector must work on this problem quickly.
    sandeep from india

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  23. Tim of tekSymmetry here.

    We’ve got clients in Saudi and that’s where I am at the moment and what can I say other than it’s HORRIBLE. I already have to deal with the terribly slow NORMAL speed but now it’s utterly shidious. At this rate I may have to just read a book or actually go outside. Tennis anyone? I’ll check with some of our devs in Pakistan and Bangladesh today to see how things are over there. I’m not sure the clients (especially our US ones) will be too happy if I tell them, “NO UPLOADS TODAY”.

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  24. Here there is no problem for my internet connection

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  25. In Dubai, the internet is slow sometimes and you get error on some sites and you cannot download torrents.

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  26. [...] linking Europe and Asia, which were damaged by ships early this year, have reportedly been cut again causing severe disruption to internet and voice traffic in the Middle East and other parts of [...]

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  27. It seems that every thing is coming back to normal .But still the connection a bit slow when compare to before . I am using Tata Indicom connection . Any Idea when it will become OK!

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  28. Once again, infrastructure is highlighted as the weak link. It’s great to design fault-tolerant systems, but there is no excuse for the low investment in infrastructure. It is a matter of national and economic security. All these countries are armed to the teeth, but a boat anchor can bring them to their collective knees? What fools, what inutterable fools. It’s time to send the warmonger charlatans packing. Don’t you see now, where the real priorities need to be? We can no longer affors to waste scarce resources on weapons when it is so clear that our collective security depends on trade and communication.

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  29. Malta isn’t Sicily. Maybe Stacey should have started this article with a quick geography lesson for the Telegeography folks. Unbelievable.

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  30. I am facing lot of problem due to this wire breakdown. My entire business is running on internet due to this problem my business start suffering. ISP companies has to think this problem seriously and try to fix it ASAP

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  31. Frequent disconnection of internet in india now a days.
    And slow internet speed most of the time.

    God knows when this will be fixed up.

    Hope for the best.

    :)

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  32. The internet in thailand feels it to.Now so slow not easy to get any europian website’s

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  33. speed of internet is already slow in india but due to this optical fibre cut….the speed has flattened…..and its not gaining in so many days now……..waiting for the speed to get better…………………..

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  34. great! just great.
    actually I don’t notice a difference except that the half of the internet which isn’t blocked by Etisalat isn’t working either now (slight exaggeration). No change in speed, connection’s always peak at 2b/s (no seriously, when I get 70kb/sec i’m happy, even though I pay for 4Mb/sec)
    It’s so much fun to monopolize, block the internet and charge people a lot for a phone call, ask 180 AED for a sim card and then 100 AED per year. Block Skype because it’s against the religious beliefs (read wallet, no offense towards the religious beliefs though), and I could go on for hours.
    one question, how the [insert a word that has four letters, starts with an "f" and rhymes with "duck" here] did they manage to cut FOUR cables?!
    lol reminds me of last year, something like 2 cut cables and they want to go out and fix them, lower their anchor and hit another one, lol, talking about… well, n00bs would fit in well here.
    maybe it’s just an act to intercept our uber-secrets…

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  35. Yes Jonas is quite right in his comments. Due to this cut, besides the fact that we continue to pay same for internet and more for expensive telephone calls, the worst effected are the business that are largely dependent on internet. We ourselves need to upload and download lot of data every day and the speed is just unbelievable these days. I mean unbelievably slow LOL.

    Now well this is the fun of having hi-tech services. When they are not there, do we learn how dangerous it to depend upon them. But now that we have chosen, can we survive without them ??

    Time to go back to the stone age perhaps and why not, you don’t pay for strip tease LOL !!!!!

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  36. Still the Net speed is very much slower in Bangladesh….no sign of improvement.

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  37. Internet browsing & Online gaming is still slow. I mostly do online gaming and downloads in night. I cant play properly on UK & US servers. On http://www.yahoo.com i used to have 175ms ping and now i got 340ms ping for past 1 week. What the hell they fixed and if they havent when the fook they will fix this shit problem. I also get frequent request timed out and cant open some sites, Which i was use to open last week. Fookin sucks.

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  38. The unbelievable drop in Internet speed has got under my skin.My Winter vacations have been ruined and i had some tournaments online coming up too.For dat i have to go to local cafes and shell out more than 100 Rs a day while i pay the same for the internet connection.Anyways does any1 know when the speed be alright?People also u can check your internet speeds at http://www.speedtest.net
    Another suggestion is that the ISP provide us with some comfort or compensation for the damage done
    Gurbir
    Chd

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  39. you made me lol guys , the internet speed in Qatar is dying, and the latency in the games these days is 3k-7k and disconnects always.
    now thats what i call it HELL

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  40. [...] Nos parece extraordinario que los cables submarinos articulen las telecomunicaciones mundiales,  por eso hemos querido aprovechar este post para recordar algunas de sus curiosidades. Aunque el vídeo que hemos colgado es muy informativo, no alude a uno de los principales problemas a los que se enfrentan las empresas que apuestan por estos tendidos: que algún barco de arrastre accidentalmente les “pesque” uno. Cuando eso ocurre, las comunicaciones entre los países que están conectados a él pueden irse a pique. Literalmente, se quedan sin conexión telefónica y sin Internet. El año pasado se produjeron bastantes cortes de cables submarinos en distintas partes del mundo y, detrás de ellos,  siempre ha planeado la sombra de boicots intencionados. [...]

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  41. [...] linking Europe and Asia, which were damaged by ships early this year, have reportedly been cut again causing severe disruption to internet and voice traffic in the Middle East and other parts of [...]

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  42. [...] Nos parece extraordinario que los cables submarinos articulen las telecomunicaciones mundiales,  por eso hemos querido aprovechar este post para recordar algunas de sus curiosidades. Aunque el vídeo que hemos colgado es muy informativo, no alude a uno de los principales problemas a los que se enfrentan las empresas que apuestan por estos tendidos: que algún barco de arrastre accidentalmente les “pesque” uno. Cuando eso ocurre, las comunicaciones entre los países que están conectados a él pueden irse a pique. Literalmente, se quedan sin conexión telefónica y sin Internet. El año pasado se produjeron bastantes cortes de cables submarinos en distintas partes del mundo y, detrás de ellos,  siempre ha planeado la sombra de boicots intencionados. [...]

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  43. [...] Internet itself has proven fairly resilient to large-scale attacks or dumb mistakes, but services built in the cloud have a less-than-perfect track record. Small things like [...]

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  44. [...] Nos parece extraordinario que los cables submarinos articulen las telecomunicaciones mundiales,  por eso hemos querido aprovechar este post para recordar algunas de sus curiosidades. Aunque el vídeo que hemos colgado es muy informativo, no alude a uno de los principales problemas a los que se enfrentan las empresas que apuestan por estos tendidos: que algún barco de arrastre accidentalmente les “pesque” uno. Cuando eso ocurre, las comunicaciones entre los países que están conectados a él pueden irse a pique. Literalmente, se quedan sin conexión telefónica y sin Internet. El año pasado se produjeron bastantes cortes de cables submarinos en distintas partes del mundo y, detrás de ellos,  siempre ha planeado la sombra de boicots intencionados. [...]

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