Internet problems continue with fourth cable break

Services in Qatar seriously disrupted by damage to cable linking Gulf state to UAE.

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By  Published  February 3, 2008

Internet services in Qatar have been seriously disrupted because of damage to an undersea telecoms cable linking the Gulf state to the UAE, the fourth such incident in less than a week.

UPDATE: Flag plays down net blackout conspiracy theories

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) said on Sunday the cable was damaged between the Qatari island of Haloul and the UAE island of Das on Friday.

The cause of damage is not yet known, but ArabianBusiness.com has been told unofficially the problem is related to the power system and not the result of a ship's anchor cutting the cable, as is thought to be the case in the other three incidents.

It is expected to take at least "a few days" to fix, according to one person with knowledge of the situation.

The damage caused major problems for internet users in Qatar over the weekend, but Qtel's loss of capacity has been kept below 40% thanks to what the telecom said was a large number of alternative routes for transmission.

It is not yet clear how badly telecom and internet services have been affected in the UAE. Etisalat is expected to release a statement on Monday.

UPDATE: UAE unaffected by fourth internet cable break

Parts of the Gulf Arab region were plunged into a virtual internet blackout on Wednesday when two undersea cables were cut near Alexandria, on Egypt’s north coast.

The initial breaches were in segments of two intercontinental cables known as Sea-ME-We-4 and Flag Europe-Asia.

The situation was made worse on Friday when Flag, part of India's Reliance Communications, revealed a third cable, Falcon, had also been damaged off the UAE coast.

Etisalat said it does not use the Falcon cable and is therefore unaffected, but the UAE's second telco, Du, warned the damage could hamper its efforts to restore normal service to customers. Etisalat said it is helping Du minimise disruption.

Flag said a repair ship was expected to arrive at the location of the third damaged cable in the next few days, but bad weather has prevented the vessel from setting off from Abu Dhabi port.

The ship is now expected to depart Monday morning and the repairs should take five days.

The third cable is located 56 kilometres from Dubai on a segment between the UAE and Oman.

Etisalat said it had been informed by Flag Telecom, which operates one of the two damaged cables in the Mediterranean Sea, that the problem should be fixed in two weeks, while the operator of the other cable planned to carry out repairs on February 8.

Flag said on Saturday a ship should reach the cable repair ground by February 5.

2085 days ago
Saad

This refers to the present internet problem of cable damage. Here Etisalat is very ruthless to its customers. They never tell anything to users. Its their monopoly here in UAE. Hope that everything returns to normal soon.

2092 days ago
Najaf Haider

An even bigger issue than the disruption is that the companies are not updating the customers regarding the progress of repairs. We, the users, are being kept in the dark. There must be an official statement regarding the exact date of repairs, and a day-by-day update of ongoing works.

2094 days ago
Ricky

This is the very sad situation here in Dubai. I cannot receive my salary for the month of December with this shit internet problem. Because my boss he don't believe that the Etisalat Internet Disruption is not a hindrance for operating his business for accessing websites. Crazy yah? I did everthing formated all PC's and show to them the news from gulfnews. I'm very disappointed with that company...

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