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Posted On: 20 December 2008 05:18 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Qatar connected despite submarine cable glitch

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Internet services in Qatar were not severely affected despite a breakdown of a submarine cable network in the Mediterranean Sea yesterday. Internet and telephone communications between the Middle East and Europe were disrupted after three submarine cables between Italy and Egypt were severed. “There is no major impact for Qatar’s communication services as we have many cable operators,” said Adel Al Mutawa, executive director of Group Communication, QTel. “Qatar’s services are affected by the breach of three of the four internet sub-cables in the Mediterranean Sea. However, strong operational capacity has been maintained due to Qatar’s large number of alternative routes for transmission.” Qtel said the loss of capacity in Qatar was kept below 47 percent due to Qatar’s robust Internet strategy. Qtel’s network of alternative transmission routes and back-up cables has ensured that Qatar has remained connected and is only experiencing limited difficulties. Engineers are also working to source additional alternative routes to maintain speed and connectivity. Reliance GlobalCom, the service providers, are yet to locate the cable breach. Three cable systems carry more than 75 percent of traffic between the Middle East, Europe and America and operate a fibre-optic data network connecting 92 cities. The company has directed a submarine cable repair company to head to the region to fix the cable. Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported that the damage occurred off the coast of Sicily at 10.00am (0800GMT) yesterday. “We do not know the exact reason for the disruption, but reports say that a minor underground earthquake might have caused the problem,” said Al Mutawa. Work to repair the cable is under way, although this could take several days to complete. Users in Qatar might experience some slowdown in internet speed and access problems while these repairs are undertaken. However, Qtel said, it was committed to restoring full access as soon as possible. This disruption is not as severe as the earlier breach in January early this year where five cables in the Middle East and Europe were severed by an anchor, outside Alexandria, after bad weather conditions forced ships to anchor off the coast, causing Internet failures in the region.