APAC telcos rush to restore service after cable cuts

Dylan Bushell-Embling
14 Aug 2009

Asian operators are well under way to restoring services after the multiple cable breaks which disrupted international traffic this week.

Subsea cables APCN2, APCN, EAC and SMW3 were all reported damaged on Wednesday.

The APCN2 – which links Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan – may have taken the biggest beating.

Chunghwa Telecom has blamed Typhoon Morakot as the most likely culprit for at least the APCN2 cut, echoing statements by SingTel on Wednesday. The typhoon likely triggered an underwater landslide, Chunghwa said.

Chunghwa told Reuters yesterday that up to 90% of the voice and internet services disrupted by the damage would be restored by the end of the day.

The company said full repairs would take two months, and cost around NT$3 million ($91,269). The cost will be shared among various telecom companies.

Separately, Chunghwa told the Taipei Times that its strategy to cope with the outages is to rent capacity from overseas telecom companies.

In the Philippines, telecom firms Globe, PLDT and Bayan have already re-routed traffic as a temporary measure.

Bayan told BusinessWorld Online it had enough bandwidth to cope during the crisis, while Globe said yesterday it hoped to fully restore services by the end of the day.

Telecom Malaysia said it expected the full recovery of internet services by August 16 - but has since discovered two more faults.

Ovum analyst Nathan Burley said that the quick response showed that Asian operators are well prepared for disaster. “The real story here may be how much progress Asia’s international network connectivity has made in just the last few years,” he said.

“The region’s cable systems are now much more meshed and resilient, and less prone to catastrophic failures.”

Burley said that terrestrial damage, network faults or intentional sabotage were other possible causes, but were less likely suspects.

The APCN2 is owned by 26 telecom operators from 14 countries.

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