Optus's Asian access still patchy

Summary:Optus Asian access still patchy

Access to some Asian Web sites continues to be erratic for Optus broadband customers more than a week after major earthquakes damaged undersea cables off the coast of Taiwan.

Multiple earthquakes in the region on Boxing Day knocked out a substantial number of the cables which telcos use to route phone calls and Internet traffic to and from East Asia. Six of the seven undersea cable systems, accounting for 90 percent of telecommunications capacity of the region, were severed in the quake and its aftershocks, according to the Office of the Telecommunications Authority in Hong Kong.

While traffic that normally travels these cables has been re-routed via satellite links and landlines, and communications progressively restored, local Optus broadband users are still experiencing disruptions to their Internet service.

A ZDNet Australia reader who requested anonymity said that she has not been able to access Singapore Airlines's Web site, or that of Optus's owner Singtel, since December 28. A message on her Optusnet service status page informed her that access to sites in the affected region will be slow, and would be ongoing.

Optus has been unable to indicate just when services would return to normal, despite traffic in the area being re-routed and the restoration of some communications.

An Optus spokeswoman said that fixing the damage to the cables in the region after such a severe earthquake was not a simple operation.

Until ships get on site and assess what damage has been done, then it was difficult to estimate how long services could be affected, according to the spokeswoman.

"All I can say is that we [Optus] are continuing to monitor the situation and are working closely with the restoration teams."

Topics: Telcos, Broadband, Browser, Optus

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