The web traffic disruption that occurred this week after two underwater cables in the Mediterranean were damaged may not have directly impacted on UK or US businesses, but web traffic flowing toward Asia and Africa has been disrupted.
Stephan Beckert, an analyst with TeleGeography Research, says the two cables account for about 75 percent of the network capacity between Europe and the Middle East. There has been reported difficulty with receiving data sent from the US and the UK to countries affected by the cable damage.
The two cables, one operated by Flag Telecom and the other by a consortium of 15 telecommunications operators, were apparently damaged early on Wednesday by ship anchors that may have severed the cables during a storm.
The damaged cables have caused major service problems in the Middle East and parts of Asia, according to both ISPs and experts. AT&T and Verizon Business for instance - the two US carriers with the largest international presence - are already rerouting traffic through other cables. as a consequence their networks throughout the Middle East and Asia are once again running at their normal capacity.
Additionally, a Verizon Business spokesman says the company is buying up additional capacity to take care of any latency issues that customers might experience as a result of the cable damages.
There has been reported difficulty with receiving data sent from the US and the UK to countries affected by the cable damage. Keynote Systems, a company that monitors internet and mobile website performance, has found while conducting research in India that there has been an average 50 percent increase in the time it takes to download websites and a 10 percent decrease in the availability of websites overall.
"Users in our monitoring locations in India and South Africa are seeing slowdowns and deteriorations in their service," says Abelardo Gonzalez, a product manager at Keynote.
Gonzalez believes the damaged cable incident will spur many global companies to think about new ways of staying connected to the web in case of emergencies. In particular, he says companies should look into having backup connectivity through multi-honing their ISPs or even through having a satellite uplink for last-resort connections.
On a more macro level, the damage to the cables has raised concerns about future incidents in which a greater number of cables could experience more significant levels of destruction.
Paul Polishuk, the president and chairman of the board of the IGI Group of Companies, says one problem with many of the underwater cable systems is that many of the cables join together at shared landing points that could leave large swathes of telecom infrastructure vulnerable to potential terrorist attacks.
CONTINUES ON NEXT PAGE > >