Asia cable cut knocks out connections

A cut in an undersea cable in the Asia-Pacific region disrupts communications in the region, with one telecoms operator attributing the fault to Typhoon Morakot

A cut in the Asia-Pacific Cable Network 2 undersea submarine cable disrupted connection speeds for users in the Asia-Pacific region on Wednesday, particularly in Singapore and the Philippines.

According to a notice sent by Malaysian telecommunications company, TM Net, the cable fault was traced to segment 7 of the APCN2, which stretches between Shantou, China and Tanshui, Taiwan. TM Net traced the outage to Typhoon Morakot, which hit the region over the weekend.

Additionally, segment 1 of the APCN2 is also under repair. Repairs on segment 7 are expected to commence after work on segment 1 is completed. TM Net said the repairs are expected to be finished by late evening on 13 August.

Singapore operator SingTel confirmed the cable fault in an email to ZDNet UK's sister site ZDNet Asia, saying the APCN2's consortium members have started restoration works and are diverting internet traffic to other cable systems. It said the situation is expected to return to "acceptable levels" within the next 24 hours.

A status update posted on the Internet Traffic Report site showed SingTel's Singapore gateway registered a score of only 34 points. That compares with the global average "health" of network connections, which was 86 points at 3pm Singapore time on Wednesday.

The site first started registering slower response times and packet loss in Singapore at 8pm on Tuesday evening.

People sent updates to local forums and Twitter complaining of slow connection speeds to sites hosted outside the region.

Cable & Wireless sent ZDNet Asia a status update at 6pm Singapore time, noting that multiple cable breaks have been also detected along the EAC (East Asia Crossing) and SMW 3 (South-East-Asia, Middle-East, Western-Europe) subsea cable networks, in addition to the APCN2.

These breaks have been concentrated specifically near Taiwan, with network traffic "adversely affected in and out of the region as a result", said Cable & Wireless.

In 2006, the APCN2 was taken out by a powerful earthquake in Taiwan. Internet access was reportedly badly disrupted and halted in some parts of Asia after the quake.