Broadband not so broad after all

If your internet connection has been driving you up the wall recently, you're certainly not alone. eCompany claims that the poor overall speeds are being caused by faulty international links.

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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  May 29, 2005

eCompany’s Al Shamil subscribers have experienced poor online performance in recent weeks due to a problem with its international cables. To date, the situation is as yet unresolved. eCompany sights a breakdown in a number of its international cables, which are used to relay internet traffic to international locations, for the slowdown. Abdullah Hashim, senior manager, eCompany told Gulf News, “The first breakdown occurred in the third week of February, which was resolved on March 13th. Subsequently there was another breakdown in several international links, which started on April 17th. This disruption is in the process of being resolved and eCompany is working closely with the international service provider to ensure that these links are restored.” The company has deployed its redundant back-up links to ensure that things don’t come to a complete standstill and eCompany has also given priority to normal internet browsing and essential traffic. While this has helped keep browsing speeds moving along, online gaming and file transfers have slowed significantly. Games are the worst affected with ping times – the delay between making a move on the PC and this being replicated in an online game - nearly doubling. This makes it difficult to play many online games with problems such as out-of-sync errors also popping up. Moreover, online messaging services such as MSN Messenger and Skype, which offer PC-to-PC voice chat services, are all but useless. Moving forward, eCompany claims it is now the responsibility of an as-yet-unnamed third-party service provider to get things back up to speed, and is not offering price reductions on any of its services. “The problems faced by subscribers in accessing internet sites are due to a fault in a submarine cable off Hong Kong that carries the traffic. The international operator of the cables is responsible for repairing them” added Hashim. eCompany is unable to suggest when its service will be back to full-speed.

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