Undersea Cable Cuts Equal Voice Service Disruptions

On Dec 19th there were several major undersea cables cut in the Middle East.

As reported on the www.orange.com website

Paris, December 19, 2008
Three undersea cables cut: traffic greatly disturbed between Europe and Asia/Near East zone

* 3 cables cut this morning (Sea Me We3 partly + Sea Me We4 + FLAG)
* France Telecom Marine cable ship about to depart

France Telecom observed today that 3 major underwater cables were cut: "Sea Me We 4" at 7:28am, "Sea Me We3" at 7:33am and FLAG at 8:06am. The causes of the cut, which is located in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia, on sections linking Sicily to Egypt, remain unclear.

Most of the B to B traffic between Europe and Asia is rerouted through the USA.
Traffic from Europe to Algeria and Tunisia is not affected, but traffic from Europe to the Near East and Asia is interrupted to a greater or lesser extent (see country list below).
Part of the internet traffic towards Réunion is affected as well as 50% towards Jordan.
A first appraisal at 7:44 am UTC gave an estimate of the following impact on the voice traffic (in percentage of out of service capacity):
- Saudi Arabia: 55% out of service
- Djibouti: 71% out of service
- Egypt: 52% out of service
- United Arab Emirates: 68% out of service
- India: 82% out of service
- Lebanon: 16% out of service
- Malaysia: 42% out of service
- Maldives: 100% out of service
- Pakistan: 51% out of service
- Qatar: 73% out of service
- Syria: 36% out of service
- Taiwan: 39% out of service
- Yemen: 38% out of service
- Zambia: 62% out of service

Putting aside the obvious physical layer issues going on here the effect that these cable cuts are having on voice network services is staggering. At 100% out-of-service Maldives look like a good place for physical network infrastructure investment and alternative access strategies to support voice and Internet services.

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