Damage to submarine communication cables hit business across the Middle East and South Asia on Thursday, including the vital call center industry, prompting appeals for people to limit their surfing.
Around 70 percent of Internet users in Egypt were affected when two submarine cables in the Mediterranean Sea were damaged on Wednesday, also rupturing connections thousands of kilometres (miles) away.State-owned Saudi Telecom reported the loss of more than 50 percent of its international lines, and said it did not know when normal service would be restored, the Arab News reported.
Like India, Egypt has a major call center industry which has been affected by the outage, and the telecommunications ministry said production was down to 30 percent.A telecommunications ministry statement named other affected Arab countries as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Qatar and Bahrain.
Egyptian blogger The Arabist said he would "resume posting after the problem is resolved" and predicted, with a hint of sarcasm, "complete social breakdown in vast swathes of (upmarket Cairo districts) Heliopolis and Mohandiseen as thousands are unable to update their Facebook status."Sri Lanka also faced a drastic drop in service quality, according to Sri Lanka Telecom, the country's largest Internet service provider.
In India, the Internet-dependent outsourcing industry was severely disrupted, with businesses saying it may take up to 15 days to return to normal.Neighbouring Bangladesh was also hit. An official from the state Telegraph and Telephone Board said "voice and data traffic bound for Europe and America is not working. It slowed down the Internet services in the country."
tag: submarine communication cables, undersea cable, call center industry,