Cable cuts disrupt Asian internet access

Asia’s internet traffic was once again disrupted yesterday when a segment of the APCN2 undersea cable network between China and Taiwan suffered a serious cable fault.

While internet traffic was rerouted onto other undersea cables up to 90% of all voice and data services from parts of East Asia that were affected by the  disruption. The APCN2 cable is owned by a consortium of 26 telecom operators from 14 different countries. The cable links Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan.

According to Chungwa Telecom, internet users Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines experienced slow data connections this week as undersea landslides damaged cables connecting them to websites hosted in the US. The carrier added that while immediate network redundancy remedies had been implemented, full repair work on the damaged cables would take two months to complete.

Meanwhile, Cable & Wireless yesterday reported network traffic was impacted in and out of the region. It reported last night that it logged multiple cable breaks on APCN2, APCN, EAC and SMW3 in Asia Pacific -- specifically, near Taiwan.
Cable & Wireless said in a statement that none of its MPLS network customers were affected by the cable failures. “Traffic within our MPLS core was automatically rerouted via our multiple diverse paths across Asia. We are currently working to restore any of our impacted transmission customers via available bandwidth on our core network.”

SingTel, which is an investor in APCN2, said its users may experience slower Internet access than normal to some US websites, blaming the APCN2 fault on damage caused by Typhoon Morakot.

SingTel issued a statement saying that the consortium members had started restoration works and  engineers were in the process of diverting Internet traffic to other cable systems.

“We expect the situation to return to acceptable levels within the next 24 hours.”

SingTel spokesman Chia Boon Chong, told TelecomsAsia that as of Thursday morning 95% of internet traffic had been diverted. ”SingTel has interests in many submarine cable systems which offer us and our customers diversity and reach. ”

The fault that hit APCN2 on Wednesday follows two other service disruptions that recently hit the network. One disruption affected APCN2 Segment 7, between Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the other affected APCN2 Segment 1, which connects Singapore and Malaysia. However, both of these disruptions were deemed to be "relatively minor" compared to the disruption that took place Wednesday morning, a source said.