Singapore ISPs spared cable fallout

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Singapore appear to have escaped unscathed from last week's damage to the SEA-ME-WE (Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe) 3 cable.

          Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Singapore appear to have escaped unscathed from last week's damage to the SEA-ME-WE (Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe) 3 cable.

          The 39,000-km SEA-ME-WE 3 cable is the world's longest and has 40 landing points in 34 countries. The cable, which connects Australia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe, was damaged at a location about 70 kilometres south of Singapore.

          Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) spokesman Chia Boon Chong says its subscribers were not affected by the incident.

          "Following the damage, we immediately diverted our traffic to another submarine cable network," he says. SingTel is a major investor in several submarine cable systems, such as SEA-ME-WE 2 & 3, Asia-Pacific Cable Network (APCN), China-US, Japan-US and Asia-Pacific Cable. Another ISP, StarHub Internet, experienced "only very minor disruptions" which were quickly resolved, says its spokesman Robin Tan. "None of our customers were adversely affected," he adds.

          Adrian Ng, investor relations executive with Pacific Internet, says the ISP had not received feedback from its customers on any noticeable increase in lag time during surfing.

          "We do not tap on the SEA-ME-WE 3 cable directly so any delays resulting from its damage has minimal impact on our network connectivity," he says.

          Disruptions to internet communications have mainly affected traffic to and from Australia. Telstra, the country's largest ISP with more than 650,000 subscribers, uses the cable for as much of 60% of its international internet traffic.

          SingTel is coordinating repair operations on behalf of the consortium of 90 companies from around the world who own the cable, including Telstra, France Telecom and Hong Kong Telecom. Restoration work is currently being carried out. According to the Telstra public affairs manager for online services Stuart Gray, remote-controlled submersible submarines will go down to the cable and bring the two ends up to the surface. They will be spliced in with new cable and then spliced together.

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