Third Underseas Internet Cable Cut in Three Days

By Matthew Harwood

Another underseas Internet cable has been severed, this time off the coast of Dubai, the Associated Press reports. This makes three cables damaged within the last three days.

A leading Internet provider in the [United Arab] Emirates said an undersea cable had been cut early Friday in the Persian Gulf, causing severe phone line disruptions here and compounding an already existing Internet outage across large parts of the Middle East and Asia after two other undersea cables were damaged earlier this week north of Egypt.

As of yet, no knows how the cable snapped.

On Wednesday, two other underseas Internet cables severed off the coast of Egypt in the Mediterranean Sea led to business disruptions stretching from the Middle East into Asia. Egyptian officials believe the cables were sliced by an anchor from a ship that couldn't dock in the port of Alexandria.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

The cut cables caused Internet trouble across a vast area, including countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. India, home to a huge outsourcing industry, saw Internet bandwidth capacity cut in half, according to one source.

The Dubai stock exchange slowed Wednesday. Internet traffic from India and the Middle East intended for the U.S. and Europe was reportedly sluggish as it was rerouted around the globe via the Pacific Ocean.

One of the owners of the cables cut Wednesday, the U.K.-based FLAG Telecom, has already dispatched a ship to repair the damage. The ship, reports AP, should arrive Tuesday, but repairs will take a week, the company said. The part owner of the other cable severed Wednesday, France Telecom, said it was unsure when repairs would begin, says.

Coincidentally, FLAG Telecom also owns the cable severed today off the coast of Dubai. AP reports an email it received from the company suggests the company has already notified another repair team, who should arrive in the next few days to repair the damaged cable in the Persian Gulf.

A FLAG official in India would not comment whether the incidents in the Persian Gulf and in the Mediterranean Sea were linked, but did tell AP that he did not suspect foul play.


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