Gulf Internet paralysed

Egypt had less than half of its Internet capacity available on Thursday because of disruption to undersea cable.

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By  Cynthia Johnston Published  January 31, 2008

Egypt had only about 40% of its Internet capacity available on Thursday because of a disruption to an undersea cable that has also affected the Gulf region and south Asia.

The cable connection broke off Egypt's northern coast on Wednesday, slowing or stopping Internet access for users across large parts of Asia, and forcing service providers to try to reroute traffic via other cables or satellites. "The service will come up to 40% this morning. And by tomorrow up to 70%," said Mariam Fayez, a spokeswoman for the Egyptian telecommunications ministry.

"We are seeking alternative solutions such as satellite and alternative cable."

In Cairo, some residents reported that their Internet connections were working at slow speed, while others still had no workable access to the Web. Egypt had said on Wednesday it would take several days for services to return to normal.

The Egyptian ministry said it did not know how the connection had been cut, or if weather was a factor. Storms had forced Egypt to temporarily close the northern mouth of the Suez Canal on Tuesday, making ships wait in the Mediterranean.

The digital blackout disrupted Egyptian financial market operations on Wednesday. Gulf Arab countries and India also reported significant disruptions to Internet connectivity. (Reuters)

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