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S'pore unaffected by damaged cables

Following disrupted service, several telcos have begun restoring damaged undersea system SMW4, but SingTel claims it has not detected any issues.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

Following reports over the weekend of disrupted Internet and phone services due to damaged undersea cables, Singapore remains one of the few countries saying it has been unaffected by the event.

During the weekend, reports arose of disrupted communication services due to the damage of three undersea cables on the South East Asia–Middle East–Western Europe 4 (SMW4) system.

While the extent of the damage remains unclear, several telcos including France Telecom have begun to reroute traffic, and have offered Dec. 31 as the date to expect full restoration. India's Reliance Globalcom offered no timeframe for fixing the network disruption.

However, one of the 16 telcos which developed the cable system, SingTel, said it is business as usual. "There are no plans to undergo any restoration work, because no disruptions to our services were detected," a representative said, in response to an enquiry from ZDNet Asia.

Another member of the consortium, Telekom Malaysia, also offered the Dec. 31 timeline. In a prepared statement mailed to ZDNet Asia, the telco said it had detected a disruption of its Internet services "due to circuit faults" on the SMW4, and that customers "may now experience slow browsing while accessing Web sites hosted in Europe".

The Malaysian telco said: "Some of the links have been rerouted to alternate routes to ease congestion. Restoration works are already in progress. Telekom Malaysia expects the complete recovery of its services by Dec. 31."

SMW4 was the only cable system unaffected in the Taiwan quake of 2006, which took out seven other undersea systems.

It connects 12 countries: Pakistan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy and France.

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