Telecom in southeast Asia hit after earthquake in Taiwan

Published: Wednesday 31 January 2007

-- Telecommunications in Southeast Asia was badly affected after an earthquake hit southern Taiwan on December 27, 2006. Fixed-line and mobile international telephone connections were largely back on line two days after the quake, but officials warned that it could take several more days before Internet access across much of Southeast Asia returned to normalcy.

Six of the seven undersea cable systems, accounting for 90 per cent of the telecommunication capacity of the region, were damaged in the quake and its aftershocks. Among the damaged cables were the 11,800-mile pacn-2, a us$1.1 billion cable built in 2001 that links China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan; and the north Asian loop, a 24,200-mile cable stretching from South Korea around the Eurasian landmass to the Netherlands.crc, a us$2 billion 10,500-mile cable built in 2002, that links China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan to the us was also damaged, as were two cables belonging to Flag Telecom, an around-the-world cable project that went public at the height of the dot-com boom and went broke in 2002. Flag, now reorganised under new ownership, said that it had already booked a repair vessel and that fixing its cables could take up to three weeks.

A technician in Singapore said that the speed of the repair would depend on how quickly the repair crews found the severed ends of the cables, some of which were broken in several places.

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