Cut Cable Conspiracy - The Details
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Sorry for leaving you hanging. I'll get right back into the story. On January 30, there was a report of another Flag Telecom cable being damaged along with one from SEA-ME-WE 4 (South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe), which, as you can surmise from the name, spans over half the world. These were separate occurrences near Alexandria in Egypt. As with the first incident, the cause of of the damage wasn't immediately known. Most authorities attributed the damage to a ship's anchor dragging along the ocean floor near Alexandria.
The third incident was reported on February 1, when another section of the FALCON cable was cut somewhere between Muscat, Oman and Dubai, UAE. This time it was allegedly caused by a tropical storm. I know those tropical storms tend to do a lot of damage underwater (rolls eyes). But according to a recently published article in the Wall Street Journal, "At the site, the FLAG crew discovered an abandoned ship's anchor which the company said was behind the cut last Friday." The anchor weighed over five and a half tons.
On February 3, 2008, a fourth incident was reported by Qtel, the exclusive telecommunications provider in Qatar, which informed of a break in the DOHA-HALOUL cable connecting Qatar to the UAE. In case you're counting, this is the fifth cut overall and the fourth in five days. Most authorities blame the break on a problem related to the power system and not a random ship's anchor cutting the cables. If this was the case, Qatar could simply find alternative transmission routes, which they've been relatively successful doing, keeping Internet capacity at around 60%.
The final incident (at the time of writing, at least) occurred on February 4, when the Khaleej Times reported that the SEA-ME-WE 4 cable had again been damaged, this time all the way out in Penang, Malaysia. Clearly something is going on here. Whether it's merely a coincidence that these cables are all being damaged in the same part of the world at the same time, or it's something we need to worry about, there is no denying the importance of the Internet in the world today. And because 90% of Internet traffic is routed through undersea cables, damaging them would have to be considered a prime tactic for anyone trying to cause broad damage to a country's operations.
I may be getting ahead of myself on this one, but I'm not the only one. Please keep reading to find out exactly how much disruption these damaged cables have caused.
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