Sunday, February 03, 2008

Pop Go the Cables

Update: Fourth cable "broken".


Cable reported cut Friday off Dubai in Persian Gulf. An undersea cable carrying Internet traffic was cut off the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai, officials said Friday, the third loss of a line carrying Internet and telephone traffic in three days.

Extensive Internet failure has affected much of Asia, the Middle East, north Africa

What's going on here? What are the military, financial, and communication implications of something like this?

Is it just me, or does a cluster of three transoceanic "backhoe incidents" effecting this large region of the world at a time of very interesting political foment seem peculiar?

You'd think these types of events happen everyday judging from occurrences this past week. But as you can see from the cross sectional view of the cable, it's more than a notion to take out one of these cables. The idea that a trawlers anchor got to it just seems a little implausible. In view of the fact that trawlers cross the ocean constantly-- Internet companies would be sure to construct cables that would not be destroyed that easily or be that accessible to anchor dragging when the connection to a whole continent depends on them. And what is even harder to believe is that these cables are cut in separate incidents---a couple days apart(map of cuts below)

Ships have been dispatched to repair two undersea cables damaged on Wednesday off Egypt.

FLAG Telecom, which owns one of the cables, said repairs were expected to be completed by February 12. France Telecom, part owner of the other cable, said it was uncertain when repairs on it would be repaired.

Stephan Beckert, an analyst with TeleGeography, a research company that consults on global Internet issues, said the cables off Egypt were likely damaged by ships' anchors.

The loss of the two Mediterranean cables -- FLAG Telecom's FLAG Europe-Asia cable and SeaMeWe-4, a cable owned by a consortium of more than a dozen telecommunications companies -- has snarled Internet and phone traffic from Egypt to India. Officials said Friday it was unclear what caused the damage to FLAG's FALCON cable about 50 kilometers off Dubai. A repair ship was en route, FLAG said.

The two cables damaged Wednesday collectively account for as much as three-quarters of the international communications between Europe and the Middle East, so their loss had a much bigger effect.