Disabled Middle East Cables Under Repair
Two out of the three communications lines could be up and running this weekend as the network operator looks at alternate cable routes through the Mediterranean.
Repairs are underway to the undersea communications cables that have been cut in recent days, according to company and media reports.
Three disabled cables off Egypt's northern coast and the coast of the United Arab Emirates have wreaked havoc in recent days among customers depending on reliable Internet service. Web traffic slowdowns were reported in a wide range of countries in the Middle East and also in India. Two of the three broken cables are expected to be repaired this weekend, Reuters news service reported Thursday.
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Indian-owned cable network operator FLAG Telecom said on Tuesday a ship had reached the location and repair work had started. FLAG stands for Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe.
In addition, a new line called the FLAG Mediterranean Cable is expected to provide a different route from the severed cables and be "fully resilient" against cuts like last week's, a FLAG representative told the Associated Press.
But how were the cables cut in the first place?
Theories ranged from fishing draggers and the unusual storm activity in the region at the time, to ships off course to, inevitably perhaps, conspiracies. An abandoned ship anchor was blamed for the cut cable between the United Arab Emirates and Oman while other cuts were attributed to ships that were forced to cruise in the area to seek refuge from storms.
"Is information warfare to blame?" asked a program on Australian Broadcasting Corporation report rhetorically. The series of cuts brought out conspiracy theories around the world.
To date, no one knows for certain what caused the cuts and even whether the cuts are interconnected.
India was hardest hit by the disabled cables, but according to a late report Thursday was well on its way to returning to normal. India is a bastion of outsourcing operations that relies heavily on high-speed Internet connections between its programming centers in India and its customers in North America and Europe.