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January 03, 2007

Repairs to Internet All at Sea

Contributed by Arch. Jericho Adriano, FUAP


Repairs to Asia's slow Internet, damaged by an earthquake that ripped through key undersea data cables, have been postponed because of a major fault on a ship sent to the fix the problem.

One of two repair ships that laid anchor in the Luzon Strait between Taiwan and the Philippines above the damaged lines experienced a major fault on Saturday, Hong Kong's Office of the Telecommunications Authority said on Sunday.

The ship is now in Taiwan and will take about seven days to fix, the authority said in a statement, pushing back the estimate for initial repairs to one of the cable systems by a week.

"It is estimated that the first part of the repair of a submarine cable system would be completed around January 16, 2007," the statement said, revising the estimate from January 9.

"For the other damaged cables, survey and assessment are being arranged and repair of most of the cables is expected to be completed progressively by the end of January 2007."

The authority said Saturday that three other ships were steaming to the location of the damaged cables.

It reported continued improvement in telephone services Sunday but warned web users to expect slower than normal surfing speeds.

Telephone and internet traffic in many parts of Asia was severely disrupted by the 7.1-magnitude quake off the coast of Taiwan, which killed two people on the island.

Millions were left pining for their emails and clutching unresponsive telephones, but moves to circumvent the damage by funnelling data through alternative routes have eased some of the communication woes.

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