eCompany, Etisalat’s one-stop e-powerhouse Business Unit that provides Internet services and ICT solutions Tuesday announced that the continued Internet disruption in the country which is beyond its control has occurred due to disruption in two undersea cables off the coast of Mumbai which has now resulted in breakdown of 8 international links out of 20. Etisalat added an additional link last week as an immediate measure while other similar measures are being looked into on a war footing.
Sea-Me-We 3 (South East Asia Middle East Western Europe 3) and FLAG are the two operators whose undersea cables were severed. Internet traffic in India has been affected because of this fault. Both operators are working to ensure that these links are restored at the earliest. In the case of FLAG, a cable ship is on its way and is expected to reach Mumbai by Wednesday. A request for a permit from the Indian government to start repair activities has already been submitted. Repair work is expected to be completed by next week. In the case of Sea-Me-We 3, a repair ship is already in Cochin awaiting a permit from Indian government to start repair activity. According to estimates, the repair for this cable is also expected to be completed by next week.
The impact of this disruption has been more pronounced because of the scale of the disruption resulting from outages in the capacity of not one but two service providers.
Outages of this nature will be minimized by future expansion of Internet bandwidth. In October 2005, Etisalat will be able to use the bandwidth provided by Sea-Me-We 4 submarine cable network. The cable has 32 times the initial capacity of the existing Sea-Me-We 3 system. This will meet the fast growing needs from UAE, India and other Middle-Eastern countries. Etisalat also plans to increase the current 20 links to 29 by the end of the year as it seeks to increase its bandwidth in a phased manner to cater to increased usage.