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Effects of damaged cables continue

Issues from damaged SMW4 cable system that took out Internet and phone communications last week still persist, with Singapore now apparently affected.
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Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor on

Previously presumed to be unaffected by the damaged undersea cables, Singapore now appears to be experiencing some interrupted Internet service, according to a traceroute report.

Over a week ago, news emerged that three undersea cables on the Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 4 (SMW4) system had been damaged. Several countries reported disruption in Internet and telephone services due to the fault, although SingTel--one of the 16 telcos that developed the system--told ZDNet Asia that Singapore was unaffected.

However, a ZDNet Asia reader going by the name of Toh, sent a traceroute report Monday via e-mail, stating: "It appears traffic going through SingTel's network through Europe is affected. [Traffic] going through the [Los Angeles] link appears OK."

Traceroute is a widely-available tool deployed to determine the path taken by data packets as they move across an Internet Protocol (IP) network. A similar tool is available on Windows platforms, called tracert.

According to recent reports online, India's Bharti has redirected traffic away from the affected SMW4 to the i2i cable, which it co-owns with SingTel.

An IDG News Service report said India's Reliance Globalcom's traffic was automatically diverted via the Pacific, but a spokesperson noted that customers might face slower connection to European sites.

Outages seem to have hit the Middle East region more severely, with communications between the Middle East and Europe and Asia seriously affected over the past week.

A recent report from The National said a representative from UAE-based telco, Etisalat said repairs along the cable system stretched beyond Thursday, as initially projected, because of complications in a cable located off Egypt.

The report said Internet providers in the UAE have been redirecting traffic to Asia and the United States, with bandwidth-heavy activities such as video streaming and online gaming, temporarily blocked to keep overall service afloat.

SingTel could not be reached for comments by press time.

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