Monday, 4 February 2008
<http://www.telegeog raphy.com/ cu/index. php?day=04& month=02& year=2008>

Four international cable breaks in a week

An undersea fibre-optic cable has gone out of service between Qatar and the
UAE, the fourth such incident in less than a week. On Friday the Qatar-UAE
Submarine Cable System was ‘cut’ between the Qatari island of Haloul and the
UAE island of Das, disrupting internet services. ArabianBusiness. com was
told on Sunday by unofficial sources that the problem is related to a power
system and not a physical break in the cable, as is thought to be the case
in three international incidents earlier in the week.

Flag Telecom, part of India’s Reliance Communications, reported earlier on
Friday that its Falcon cable was cut between the UAE and Oman at 06.00 GMT.
According to Flag, a repair ship is expected to arrive at the site of the
damage, at a location 56km from Dubai, today or tomorrow, and the repairs
should take five days.

These two incidents followed damage to two major international submarine
cables linking Europe, the Middle East and Asia last Wednesday. Breaks on
Flag Telecom’s Europe-Asia cable and the consortium-owned SEA-ME-WE 4 system
disrupted internet and other communications in the Middle East and South
Asia. Following delays due to bad weather, a repair ship is expected to
reach the damage site, 8.3km from Alexandria, Egypt, by tomorrow. The
repairs will take around a week to complete. Contrary to earlier reports
that the two cables were cut by ship’s anchors, Egypt’s Ministry of
Communications has stated that no ships were present when connections were
severed.

New cable construction should help to prevent such outages in the future,
according to TeleGeography Research Director Alan Mauldin, who notes that
‘many new cable systems are slated to enter service between Europe and Egypt
in the next few years, including Telecom Egypt’s TE North cable, Orascom’s
MENA system, the IMEWE consortium cable, and a new cable by Flag Telecom.’
Telecom Egypt recently announced a USD125 million deal with Alcatel-Lucent
to build the planned 3,100km TE North system linking Sidi Kerir in Egypt to
Marseille in France, to provide capacity of 128x10Gbps on eight fibre pairs.

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