Submarine Fiber Optic Cables Damaged in Asia Disaster

Typhoon Morakat damages undersea cables, disrupting Internet and telephone services in Asia

Source: Associated Press

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Seabed movements believed caused by Typhoon Morakat damaged seven undersea cables linking Asian nations, disrupting Internet and telephone services, a Taiwanese telephone company said Friday.

Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom, which jointly operates four cables in the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines, said service has been slow since the typhoon pummeled Taiwan last weekend. Voice calls and Internet data traffic will be fully restored later Friday, it said.

Meanwhile, two of the Philippines’ largest telecommunications providers said their international call and broadband services have suffered partial disruptions since Wednesday because of damaged undersea cables connecting China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

Chen Hui-yen, an official at Chunghwa, said the disruption to communications had been contained as Internet traffic and voice calls were rerouted to other cable networks.

Most international Internet data and telephone calls are transmitted as pulses of light via undersea fiber-optic cables that crisscross the globe. Many cables have “redundancy” — a technical term that means having a backup cable that takes over if the main cable is damaged or completely fails.

An earthquake off the coast of southern Taiwan in December 2006 damaged seven undersea cables and disrupted services for several days but this time there were no reports of seismic activity.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Globe Telecom Inc. said they rerouted Internet traffic and some international business circuits to two other cable networks. PLDT said it expects to “normalize services to its business customers” by Friday.

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., Southeast Asia’s largest telephone company, said it had restored 95 percent of its Internet capacity by using other cable systems.

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