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Shark blamed for China's Net problems

Undersea cable will take 23 days to repair

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Millions of Chinese surfers got an even more restricted Internet today after an undersea cable was severed.

The cable links Shanghai to the west coast of the US, and has had a knock-on effect on other parts of Asia-Pacific, with Hong Kong and Singapore suffering slower Net connections. Taiwan's state phone company, Chunghwa Telecom, also reported that a broken cable was stopping ISPs connecting to overseas servers - although it was not immediately known if it was the same cable.

An official at China Telecom told Reuters the cable would take up to 23 days to repair.

Web users in China's major cities said they were unable to access many overseas sites, although they were able to log onto domestic ones - which must be music to the ears of the country's Net-censorship crazed leaders. Phone companies are understood to be trying to divert traffic through satellites.

What caused the break, which hit the cable at 8am just off the coast of Japan (7pm EST Thursday), remains a mystery.

"All this talk about the Information Revolution - it can all be brought to its knees by a shark," speculated Steve Yap, a representative for Internet research firm Iamasia in Hong Kong. There were also reports on Chinese portal sina.com.cn that a careless fisherman may have been to blame. ®

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