New undersea cable cut in Mideast compounds net woes

2008-02-01 22:01:12 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- A third submarine internet cable was severed in the Middle East, compounding global net problems, media reported Saturday.

Indian network operator FLAG Telecom, which owns the cable, said the fiber-optic cable was cut between United Arab Emirates and Oman, about 35 miles off Dubai. A repair ship is on its way and should arrive Tuesday. It's expected to take a week to fix.

Net traffic in the region and India was severely disrupted Tuesday when two other cable were cut off Egypt, apparently by a ship's anchor.

The loss of the two Mediterranean cables -- FLAG Telecom's FLAG Europe-Asia cable and SeaMeWe-4, a cable owned by a consortium of more than a dozen telecommunications companies -- has snarled internet and phone traffic from Egypt to India.

TeleGeography Research Director Alan Mauldin said new cables planned to link Europe with Egypt should provide enough backup to prevent most similar problems in the future.

Eric Schoonover, a senior analyst with TeleGeography, said a similar Internet problem could not happen in the United States.

"We have all the content here," he said. "It's not going to be felt other than we won't get the BBC."

TeleGeography officials also said most traffic between the U.S., Canada and Mexico is carried over land, and there is a plentiful supply of undersea cables carrying traffic under the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.