Asia gets back online after quake
I'm still hearing about peeps having bandwith problems in Asia… How's YOUR situation right now?
An Internet surfer in Singapore fails to gain Internet access Wednesday.
POSTED: 9:27 p.m. EST, December 28, 2006
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Telecom companies quickly cobbled together new telephone and Internet networks on Thursday as Asia began recovering from a Taiwanese earthquake that snapped undersea cables, snarling service across the tech-savvy region.
Less than 48 hours after the powerful quake ruptured the two crucial cables off Taiwan's southern tip, companies from South Korea to Singapore said they managed to partially restore most of their service to millions of customers.
They did it by rerouting traffic through satellites and cables that weren't damaged by the 6.7-magnitude tremor that killed two people.
Four repair ships were sailing to the quake zone, but they weren't expected to arrive until Tuesday, said Lin Jen-hung, vice-general manager of Chunghwa Telecom Co., Taiwan's biggest phone company.
The crews would need to find the fault, survey the conditions and pull up the cables for repair — a job Chunghwa said could take two weeks.
Most international Internet data and voice calls travel as pulses of light through hundreds of undersea fiber optic cables crisscrossing the globe. The cables — clusters of glass fibers enclosed in protective material — are often owned by groups of telecom companies, who share costs and capacity.
"Cables break all over the place, from sharks nibbling, anchors dragged across," said Markus Buchhorn, an information technology expert at Australia National University.
But Buchhorn added the broken cables become a problem if — like in the Taiwanese case — several snap at the same time and there are not immediate backup lines to keep the traffic flowing.
Chunghwa estimated its revenue loss from the earthquake damage at about $3 million. Repairing the cables would cost about $1.53 million, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
The outage reminded stock traders, travelers and online video gamers how addicted they've become to the Internet.
"Many lost the opportunity to make fast money," said Francis Lun, general manager at Fulbright Securities in Hong Kong.
"I haven't experienced anything like this before," Lun added. "We've become too dependent on these optic fibers — a few of them get damaged, and everything collapses." More Here