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August 6, 2017

Another submarine cable fault hits internet services


August 6, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Millions of users faced a partial internet blackout and subsequently a general browsing slowdown after a breakdown, second in a row over a month, in the international submarine cable system interrupted the steady flow of bandwidth to the country, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) said on Saturday.

 “A fault in IMEWE (IndiaMiddle East-Western Europe) undersea cable near Jeddah, Saud Arabia disrupted the internet in Pakistan in the wee hours of Saturday,” said Sikandar Naqi, chief business development officer (CBDO) PTCL.

 “The international consortium managing the submarine cable system has already started working to resolve the situation as early as possible.”

Naqi added that in order to minimise the service impact, the PTCL had already undertaken necessary measures to arrange/alternate bandwidth through its other cable systems and international cable business partners. “The inconvenience caused to customers is deeply regretted,” the PTCL official said.

Earlier, PTCL’s through its official Twitter account had announced that: “Outage in International Submarine Cable Systems providing internet bandwidth to Pakistan, IMEWE, customers will face slow internet browsing.”

 Pakistan faced a similar internet outage last month when another international submarine cable system, SEA-ME-WE 4, broke down and was still under repair.

In his statement, Imran Janjua, general manager PTCL, said that maintenance teams outside Pakistan are working to repair the fault. “PTCL will be providing internet service through alternate source till the maintenance work is complete,” Janjua added.

IMEWE submarine cable is an ultra high capacity fiber optic submarine cable system which links India & Europe via Middle East. This 3 fiber pair system with total length of approx. 12,091km is well complemented with nine terminal stations forming a consortium of 09 leading telecom carriers from 08 countries.

 It must be noted that PTCL has recently announced to link the world’s biggest submarine cable consortium Asia-AfricaEurope 1 (AAE-1) in order to provide an alternative route to its customers and ramp up data carrying capacity.

AAE-1, spanning over 25,000 kilometres, connects South East Asia to Europe via Egypt. The cable system will be constructed within the next 15 years. PTCL is already a member of three other international submarine cable consortiums: South East Asia–Middle East– Western Europe (SMW-3) and SMW-4 and India-Middle EastWestern Europe.

The company has been providing fixed line telephony services across the country for the last 70 years. “AAE-1’s completion will not only provide the primary route of choice but also offer protection and diversity to existing vulnerable and heavily congested routes,” the company had said in a statement. AAE-1 provides connectivity to gateways in Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Djibouti and subsea connectivity to Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen. The company said the new connection will be able to cater for growing bandwidth requirement of its customers to support live streaming and watching high definition content over internet, helping in building a digitally-connected Pakistan.

PTCL has already partnered with world leading telecom operators, including China Unicom, CIL (HyalRoute), Djibouti Telecom, Etisalat, GT5L, Mobily, Omantel, Ooredoo, OTEG, PCCW, Reliance Jio, Retelit, Telecom Egypt, TeleYemen, TOT, Viettel, VNPT and VTC to connect Pakistan to Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, with Malaysia and Singapore, then onwards to Myanmar, India, in the East and Oman, UAE, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greece, Italy and France

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