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Submarine cable cut torpedoes Middle East access

Web slowdown hits India, Pakistan too

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A submarine cable in the Mediterranean was cut earlier today, resulting in a dramatic slowdown in internet access for people in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and much of the Middle East.

A spokesman for Flag Telecom, the owner of the severed cable, told the Reg: "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."

He said they were in the process of getting a repair ship out to assess the damage but he warned the whole process could take 12 to 15 days even though the ship was in the Med. He said users in India would have a slower internet access as a result.

Such major damage to the internet backbone can cause major problems despite redundancy which allows some re-routing. The loss of so much bandwidth is likely to have an impact.

A Reg reader told us: "We've got some connectivity to our India office, but it's very flakey (currently losing half the packets) which could be a result of overloading. Is very similar to a couple of Christmas' ago when there was a earthquake near Taiwan and it severed undersea cables causing major bottlenecks on what was left to most of Asia for a couple of weeks."

Apart from being serious for the region, the cable break could also hit large UK and US enterprises which have offshored business processes and backoffice functions to companies in India, Pakistan or the Middle East. ®

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