Jan 31, 2008 : Internet Outages Hit Two Continents

Jan 31, 2008 - Damage to an undersea cable in the Mediterranean on Wednesday has been blamed for major Internet outages across Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, bringing many businesses to a standstill and leaving others struggling to cope.

According to reports by Reuters, 70 percent of the Egypt's Internet network was down and India's bandwidth has been sliced in half, leaving its lucrative outsourcing industry trying to reroute traffic to satellites and other cables through Asia.

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain have also been experiencing severe connection problems but Israel, Lebanon and Iraq have been able to avoid the crippling catastrophe either because the country has been using a different route or its government has prepared backup satellite systems in case of cable failure.

Besides the Internet, the outage has also caused major disruption to television and phone services, creating chaos for the UAE's public and private sectors.

According to reports, officials at Egypt's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology believe a boat's anchor may have caused the problem, although this has yet to be confirmed. The damage has been traced to an undersea cable located between Alexandria, Egypt and Palermo, Italy.

Government agencies and ISPs from Nothern Africa and the Middle East say the damage will take up to two weeks to fix.

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