Major internet blackout hits Amman and disrupts business

Published April 23rd, 2013 - 08:21 GMT
A major internet blackout hit businesses in Jordan's capital Amman on Monday
A major internet blackout hit businesses in Jordan's capital Amman on Monday

Major businesses were almost brought to a complete standstill on Monday due to major disruptions to the [Jordanian] capital’s Internet service. 

The Jordan Telecom Group said around 40 fibre optic cables that are part of the company’s network were cut in the Tlaa Al Ali area in Amman in what they are calling a “major incident”. This caused disruptions in Internet services, landline telephones and even mobile services.

According to the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, a group of unidentified persons cut the major fibre optic cables from two sides late on Sunday. Jordan Telecom Group teams started working on fixing the problem immediately. “The situation is gradually improving and is expected to be back to normal Tuesday morning,” the group said in a statement to The Jordan Times on Monday.

Most of the service disruptions were in Amman, they added.

Travel agencies, The Jordan Times and at least one bank suffered significantly from the Internet disruptions.

The Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank said its operations were hit by the disruptions. Operations and transactions at 12 out of the bank’s 13 branches were completely halted due to the disruption in the service, an employee at the bank said on Monday.

Nadia Saeed, general manager of the Union Bank, said the bank had suffered minor problems due to the outage.

“Our main critical operations were not affected because we have backup connections. Some of the services at the customer calls were affected, but luckily the damage done to our operations was not major,” she said.

Other banks refused to comment in spite of several attempts by The Jordan Times to contact them.

Royal Jordanian (RJ) was forced to delay 11 flights from 9:00am on Monday and at 3:00pm, some flights were still pending, according to Kilani. “We are looking into how we can address this issue,” RJ Executive Assistant/Media and Communications Basel Kilani told The Jordan Times on Monday.

The flights were delayed as RJ was unable to send e-mails to control centres in Europe and the US informing them of the flight plans.

“Control centres in Europe and the US need to have the flight plan ahead of the flight takeoff and they need that over e-mail — this is why the flights were delayed. We cannot simply give them a phone call or send a fax to global control centres. We need the Internet,” Kilani said.

The Internet outage caused an outcry from several users who suffered work damage.

“Our business was hit on Sunday. We are unable to sell tickets, make reservations and even communicate with other partner travel agencies,” an employee at Al Shorafa Travel Agency, told The Jordan Times.

“We are at the office doing nothing all day. We came to work at 9:00am and the Internet was not working. This is unacceptable,” said the employee.
Samar, am employee at EgyptAir, complained that the Internet outage negatively affected their work for Sunday.

“It is hard to make reservations and change dates of some reservations. We had to do reservations manually,” she said.

“We even lost communication between our offices in Amman,” she added.

Mays Fouad, a secretary at a private company in Amman, said she spent most of her day at work chatting with colleagues Sunday due to the cut in services.
“I usually send tens of e-mails to our clients on a daily basis, but on Sunday, I could not send a single e-mail,” she said.

An employee at an international company located in Amman said the company was unable to transfer international calls to local numbers because of the Internet disruption.

“When there are international calls from certain countries to Jordan, they are transferred through distribution companies such as ours, however, because of the cut we were unable to connect these calls to recipients in Jordan,” he said.

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