Feeds

Three simultaneously cut undersea cables under repair

Traffic disrupted between Europe and Middle East

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Ships have begun repair work on three undersea cables that carry voice and internet traffic between Europe and the Middle East and Asia after they were severed on Friday.

A robot submarine dispatched by France Telecom has arrived at a location in the Mediterranean Sea where it will locate the ends of two broken cables and bring them to the surface and reconnect them, the BBC reports. A separate ship commissioned by Reliance Communications of India is on its way to repair the third cable, Reuters said. The companies said the work wasn't likely to be completed until the end of the year, a delay that means communications in the Middle East and parts of South Asia could remain spotty.

A submarine robot named Hector is beginning the repairs on the SeaMeWe-3 and SeaMeWe-4, which are cables owned by a consortium of telecommunications companies and operated by France Telecom. A third cable known as FLAG is under separate ownership and operated by a unit of Reliance. The cables were cut within a few minutes of each other, sparking theories that a a fishing net or anchor of a single ship cut all three.

Internet communications to the same region took a major hit in January when four underseas cables were seriously damaged in less than a week. The number of failures in such a short period of time stoked conspiracy theories that they were the result of saboteurs, but experts say it's not uncommon to experience multiple breaks in region given the narrowness and shallowness of the route the cables take.

"The odds are whatever cut one cable cut the other two at the same time, be it a fishing boat, or be it an anchor," said Stephan Beckert, a research director at the TeleGeography Research Group, which provides consulting to major network operators.

For the time being, some companies are re-routing traffic between Europe and Asia, and between Europe and the Middle East, through the US or other out-of-the-way destinations. Companies that don't have redundancy contingencies in place are simply unreachable.

Telecommunications companies are in the process of building four new cables in the region, which are slated to be up and running in the next nine to 18 months, Beckert said. Until then, damage to any of the cables currently in use is likely to result in significant disruptions. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.