Repairs completed to undersea internet line

Indian telecoms company says its cable repaired, work continues on two others.

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By  Devidutta Tripathy and Andy Sambidge Published  December 29, 2008

Indian telecoms company Reliance Communications has repaired cuts in its submarine cable which, along with cuts in two other cables, had disrupted services in parts of the Middle East and South Asia.

The No. 2 Indian mobile firm said in a statement late on Monday it had repaired the FLAG Europe-Asia cable, operated by its international unit Reliance Globalcom.

Three undersea cables owned by different consortiums were damaged on Dec. 19 in the Mediterranean, possibly by a ship's anchor.

Damage to the cables seriously disrupted more than half of internet and phone services between Europe, the Middle East and Asia on Friday, with India, Qatar and the UAE the worst affected, France Telecom said.

The telecom operator said initial estimates show 82 percent of service to India was disrupted, while 73 percent of service to Qatar and 68 percent to the UAE was affected.

Around 50 percent of service to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt was also disrupted, it said.

According to a report in The Peninsula on Tuesday, the slowdown in internet services in Qatar would continue as repair work on the damaged undersea cables in the Mediterranean Sea had been delayed.

The repairs are now expected to be completed by January 5 after an important undersea cable broke for a second time, this time at a much greater depth.

In an online poll carried out by Arabian Business, about 50 percent of respondents said there internet and international phone services had been affected by the damage to the cables.

Only 20 percent said they had not suffered any inconvenience while another 15 percent said they were not sure if the damage had affected them because their internet service was normally so poor. (Reuters)

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