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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami Telecom Recovery : Submarine Fibre Survives

Light Reading writes, Telecom services across South Asia are gradually being restored after the devastating tsunami that hit the region last weekend. With tens of thousands dead and more than a million homeless, subsea communications links will be vital as aid agencies the world over continue the work of assessing the damage and providing assistance. The major undersea cables, operated by consortiums of telecom providers, survived largely unscathed -- Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd, says the Tata Indicom-Chennai-Singapore cable, SEA-ME-WE-2 and SEA-ME-WE-3, and the Western Africa Submarine Cable (WASC) were not affected; neither was Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd.'s 3,200 kilometer cable connecting Chennai, India, with Singapore. Om Malik points out that these are the cables over which much of the outsourcing traffic to-and-from India travels. Many US retailers, banks and credit card companies operate call centers that use these cables. In a sense, this tragedy also proved that even in worst case scenario, the work of money continues. Sad, but true! The Malaysian leg of the South-Asia-Far-East (SAFE) submarine cable had been disrupted and traffic was being rerouted via VSNL’s redundancy cables. There was no word on when the cable could be restored, as repairs have to be made by the Malaysian landing operator. The SAT-3/WASC cable links Europe with West Africa and SAFE continues the connection on to India and Malaysia. The Indian link remains operational. A map showing the major undersea cables in Asia,is available here.

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