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New Damage And Bad Weather Delay Asian Internet Repairs

Currently nearly 95 percent of the Taiwan's telecommunications capacity has been restored although access to some foreign websites remains slightly slow. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) Jan 23, 2007
Newly discovered earthquake damage to undersea cables and bad weather could delay the complete restoration of Asian Internet services until next month, telecom officials said last week. A spokesman for Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom said engineers had found new damage to cables servicing China, putting back repairs by about a week.

"As we are short of direct transportation between Taiwan and the mainland, it will take four or five days to transport the needed cables from the mainland via a third place," a company official told AFP.

The official said he expected repair work on the cables, damaged by a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake on December 26, to be finished by the end of January.

"But I cannot say for sure because bad weather may hamper the continued work. It may add uncertainty to the work," he said.

Hong Kong officials also warned that poor weather could delay repairs well into next month.

"Due to inclement weather conditions and the extensive nature of the damages caused by the earthquakes, the latest status is that the first stage of the repairing work of the damaged submarine cable systems is expected to be completed within the second half of this month," the Office of Telecommunications Authority said in a statement.

It said the rest of the repairs would be completed by the middle of February, if weather permits.

The Boxing Day earthquake snapped several international telecom cables, sparking widespread communications disruption in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and elsewhere. Knock-on problems occurred as far away as Australia.

Phone calls and Internet connections across the Asia-Pacific region were affected by the quake, which rocked left two people dead and at least 42 injured in Taiwan.

The epicenter was 10 kilometres (six miles) under the sea, 57 miles from Taiwan's southern city of Kaohsiung.

Eight repair boats have been sent to the waters between Hong Kong and Taiwan to tackle the complicated task of fixing the damaged fibre-optic cables, the Chunghwa official said.

Currently nearly 95 percent of the Taiwan's telecommunications capacity has been restored although access to some foreign websites remains slightly slow, he said.

Hong Kong's telecoms authority said major Internet service providers have recovered about 80 percent of their international connection capacity.

In China, web access has remained sluggish compared to before the earthquake.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Asia Turns To Time-Tested Solution For Damaged Internet Cables
Singapore (AFP) Jan 12, 2007
Workers are relying on 19th century technology to fix a very 21st century problem -- disruption of the Internet traffic that tech-savvy Asia relies on. Crewmen on boats south of Taiwan are dragging the seabed with grappling hooks at the end of long ropes to recover fibre optic cables damaged in a 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck the region on December 26.

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