Undersea repairs over, Internet back to normal

Updated on Feb 14, 2008 11:34 PM IST
Internet connections across the country hit by damage to undersea cables in Asia have been repaired and services are back to normal, reports Archana Khatri.
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Hindustan Times | ByArchana Khatri, New Delhi

Internet connections across the country hit by damage to undersea cables in Asia have been repaired and services are back to normal, industry officials said on Thursday. But lingering doubts remained as some complained of slow Net traffic.

The damages a fortnight ago to the Reliance Communications-owned FLAG network and Tata Communications-partnered SEA-ME-WE network had sent jitters across the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry that relies on voice traffic zipped most through submarine cables, which choked after being damaged reportedly by ships dropping anchors.

“I have not heard about any problem in the Internet connectivity from anywhere in the past two days,” said Rajesh Chharia, President of Internet Service Providers Association of India.

Fibre-optic cables near Alexandria in Egypt belonging to Reliance’s FLAG, and the SEA-ME-WE network that connects South-East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe were also hit. After three days of the first damage, another FLAG network called FALCON was found damaged near Dubai resulting in larger disruption to the Internet connectivity of India with the Middle East, North America and Europe. According to ISPAI, almost 50 to 60 per cent of India’s Internet bandwidth was affected, with data packets moving slowly or not at all.

Traffic was re-routed as repairs progressed at the end of both FLAG and VSNL, a unit of Tata Communications, which is a part of the consortium that owns the SEA-ME-WE network. FLAG said on Monday that the repairs on both FLAG and FALCON cables had been restored ahead of schedule.

“VSNL is proud of the team effort that united the company’s network and operations teams across three continents to execute an ambitious recovery plan in 24 hours,” said Radwan Mousalli, Managing Director , Middle East and North Africa, for VSNL, a unit of Tata Communications.

According to ISPAI, 80 per cent of the Internet connectivity was restored within three days as Relaince, Bharti and VSNL had shifted to alternate routes in the Pacific. The real sufferers were individual users and Internet cafes.

“There is no problem now, our connection is running normaly,” said a franchise holder for Reliance’s Internet café chain. Stand-alone cyber cafes also said business was back to normal.

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