Saudi Arabia drops off World Wide Web for over 17 hours

Critical network failure at KACST brings service to its knees. ISPs rage that they were left with zero support.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 19, 2000

Saudi Arabia dropped off the World Wide Web for over 17 hours last week as the Kingdom's Internet custodian, KACST, suffered a crippling network failure.

Worse still, according to several private ISPs in the Kingdom, KACST failed to give them any information on the failure, leaving them inadequately prepared to handle the deluge of customer complaints that started jamming their switchboards.

A report in Saudi Arabia's Arab News daily newspaper said that despite the Internet collapsing in Saudi Arabia at 3:30 am on Thursday, and only fully recovering over 17 hours later, KACST was not answering its phones. "Even STC could not get through to KACST," reported Arab News.

KACST Statement

KACST eventually issued a statement to ISPs that read:

"This is a reported outage from KACST. Date: Thursday, August 17, 2000; Start time: 05:00 am; End time: 03:30 pm; Outage duration: 10:30 hours; Cause: Major router problem; Effect: Kingdom's Internet is down."

Shortly after the ISPs received this message, a second message arrived saying that the previous announcement was withdrawn as the problem was continuing.

The Internet Services Unit gave no time frame for the problem and said that they were sorry.

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