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Megaquake cuts Japan phone lines

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Telephone communications across Japan have been disrupted following Friday's massive earthquake, although data center operations appear to be holding up.

Millions of telephone lines are unavailable across the country, as it seems that a number of undersea cables have been cut or are reporting faults following the quake.

The problems are hitting at least two of Japan's two largest carriers - KDDI and SoftBank - according to this document from Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs, as run through Google Translate.

The biggest outage, due to a break in the submarine line, is on a service operated by KDDI that feeds 20 million fixed telephone lines.

NTT DoCoMo, meanwhile, is reported by Bloomberg to have said that its network is suffering poor wireless connections across the country.

Other reports say NTT is actually restricting up to 80 per cent of voice calls on its networks, especially in Tokyo as people jam the phone system in the wake of Friday's quake. People in Tokyo are reported to be taking to Twitter, Facebook, and Skype to communicate, with long lines forming at public pay phones – which suggests that mobile networks are congested or unavailable.

Data centers seem to be fairing better. ZDnet Japan reports (via Google Translate) that data-center operations at a number of providers are continuing without interruption. These include Amazon, which just opened its new Asia Pacific Region data center on March 2.

Service provider Sakura Internet, meanwhile, posted a message telling concerned customers to contact it via email rather than phone due to problems with the phone service.

Tokyo, 373 km (231 miles) southwest of the quake's epicenter, is home to a number of large data centers run by government, universities, banks, and web hosts. ®

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