UAE web traffic to accelerate next week

Etisalat’s internet arm, eCompany, today confirmed that UAE surfers should see services return to ‘better than normal’ from next week, following the connection speed slowdown that users across the country have experienced since August 2.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  August 9, 2005

Etisalat’s internet arm, eCompany, today confirmed that UAE surfers should see services return to ‘better than normal’ from next week, following the connection speed slowdown that users across the country have experienced since August 2. eCompany staff also explained the reason for the slowdown, namely the severing of two undersea cables off the coast of India. On August 2 two cables adjacent to Mumbai were cut, causing internet traffic East of the UAE – across the Middle East and Asia - to be affected. According to some online Indian publications, the cables in question were dragged and thereafter broken by two sinking ships that had been struck by the area’s recent monsoons. These cables are operated by international cable operators SMW3 and FLAG respectively. The problems internet service providers across the region have faced have been amplified by both cables being hit at the same time. eCompany today claimed that it has endeavored to keep normal internet traffic moving along as quickly as possible since the cable breakages occurred, however it did admit that internet speeds had slowed, with bandwidth-hungry P2P services and online games the most severely compromised. “The whole of the internet capacity that connects areas to the East of the UAE has been affected,” said eCompany's general manager, Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar. “In the UAE the internet is a bit slow, however in some countries in this region it’s almost out completely.” SMW3 and FLAG have both advised Etisalat that their respective cables will be fixed next week, after which time eCompany will run some quick tests before resuming routing traffic along these cables. In the meantime, an interim improvement in UAE net speeds should take effect from tomorrow, thanks to Etisalat having added two new STM1 backbone links. “The service should seriously improve,” predicted Julfar. This in turn means that when full net services resume next week, the internet speeds on offer should be quicker than those available before August 2. In the future, Etisalat claims internet speed issues of a similar nature will be minimised thanks to the planned expansion of its bandwidth. From next month eCompany will have access to the bandwidth provided by the SMW4 (Sea-Me-We 4) submarine cable network, which has 32 times more capacity than the existing SMW3 system Etisalat utilises. Asked if eCompany planned to refund users for the recent compromise in the speed of its web service, Julfar told the assembled press that this wouldn’t occur, due to the problem having been “purely an accident." He explained: "If a user pays for a 512K internet service, we only guarantee that 512K up to the end of our network. If they access a site that is based in the UAE, they will therefore get that service. If the site is hosted elsewhere though, such as in the East where the recent problems have been centred, this service isn’t controlled by us.”

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