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Slow internet blamed on submarine cable "breakdown"

Etisalat says "unexpected breakdown" to 20,000 km Sea-ME-We 4 cable behind limited service, as it reroutes traffic and prioritises business users

Etisalat says it is rerouting traffic while it attempts to fix the problem.
Etisalat says it is rerouting traffic while it attempts to fix the problem.

An "unexpected breakdown" to a submarine cable is to blame for the reduced internet performance affecting some web users in the UAE, according to the country's incumbent operator Etisalat.

The telco said that the 20,000 km Sea-Me-We 4 cable, which runs from France to Singapore, connecting South East Asia to Europe via the Indian Sub Continent and Middle East, suffered a problem somewhere between Alexandria and Marseilles.

A spokesman for Etisalat said that the groups most affected would be high bandwidth users, including gamers, users of video sharing website Youtube and filesharers using peer to peer sites.

Etisalat said it is working with "the administration, partners and concerned operators for urgent repair works to ensure earliest possible restoration of the cables and internet service". In the mean time, traffic is being re-routed and priority given to business users.

Graham Nonweiler, group managing director of Nonweiler Associates, a telecommunications company which monitors global internet cable connectivity around the world, told Arabian Business that he believes that the damage to the cable occurred at around 11:30am UAE time yesterday, and that Du customers and internet users in other parts of the Middle East have not been affected.

In 2008 three cables in the region, including Flag Europe-Asia cable and Sea-Me-We-4 were cut, while a fourth was knocked out of action by a power failure.