French undersea cable should be fixed by Xmas

A French crew has begun to repair two undersea cables in the Mediterranean that were severed on Friday, disrupting internet and phone communications, the BBC reports.

A robot submarine, Hector, will locate the ends of the cables on the sea bed and bring them to the surface to be re-connected. Apparently they were cut somewhere between Sicily and Tunisia, probably by an anchor.

Egypt says it has been able to restore most of its communications by re-routing services, but other parts of the Middle East remain badly affected.

The BBC says experts have warned that it may be days before the fault is fixed and that the knock-on effect could have serious repercussions on regional economies.