Sabotage of undersea cables to slow down internet speed for 30 days


NEW DELHI: Internet speeds in India, especially for customers of Bharti Airtel, Tata Communications and state-owned BSNL and MTNL are set to be disrupted for the next 20-25 days, after a key undersea cable, carrying data traffic across 14 countries, from Singapore to France, was cut off the coast of Egypt. Two other key cable networks, linking Asia to Europe, were also allegedly damaged.

The extent of the damage is still being assessed. "Currently, internet and data usage are low because of the festive season. India will feel the impact from Monday when offices and businesses come back. Telcos have diverted all traffic from the Atlantic route to the Pacific, but our connectivity to the latter route is not sufficient to cater to all of India's traffic," explained Rajesh Chharia, president at Association of Internet Service Providers of India.

Bharti Airtel said that the cable cuts had not impacted its voice traffic but said it was taking all 'necessary steps to ensure data services were available to our customers by routing traffic on alternative routes'.

BSNL executives said the company was diverted its traffic on other cables linking India with the Europe and the US, but declined to reveal the extent of internet disruptions here. Reliance Communications said its customers were not impacted as its cable systems, including FEA, FALCONBSE 0.00 % and HAWK, were not impacted, when the undersea cables were allegedly sabotaged.

Executives with mobile phone companies, who did not want to be named, acknowledged that browsing speeds were likely to fall significantly in the coming days, even as they were unable to provide a timeframe as to when the problem will be resolved.

On Thursday, Egypt announced that it has arrested three divers for allegedly slicing the South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE 4) that runs from Singapore to France and connects Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, UAE, Tunisia and Algeria.

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