Cable News

We’ve been discussing this in comments for several days, but I wanted to pull news together on the now-four breaks of communications fiber optic cables to the Middle East. Much thanks to Hmmm and klynn, who tracked down many of these links.

The first two cables–just off Alexandria, Egypt–went down on Wednesday. Initially, news reports assumed the two cables had been cut by a ship’s anchor, but yesterday Egypt announced that that’s not the case: the cables went down in a restricted area, and no ships were present.

No ships were present when two marine cables carrying much of the Middle East’s internet traffic were severed, Egypt’s Ministry of Communications has said, contrary to earlier speculation about the causes of the cut.


The ministry added that the location, 5 miles from the port of Alexandria, was in a restricted area so ships would not have been allowed there to begin with.

Then, on Friday, a third cable off of Dubai went down. Significantly, this cable doesn’t carry India specific traffic. Then, finally, a fourth cable, between Qatar and UAE, went down yesterday. Five days, four cables, and no ships near the first two in Egypt.

Much of the press on this pertains to India because of the impact the outages had, briefly, on India’s call centers. But India has managed to shift much of its traffic to cables going east, through Singapore and Japan. As a result, much of its big business traffic recuperated quickly. Which means the people suffering diminished or no access (this pertains to India, I’m not sure whether the same is true throughout the Middle East and South Asia) are the individual users. Read more