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Earthquake Knocks Out Asian Internet

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

29 December 2006


Although the post-Christmas subsea earthquake which shook Taiwan caused relatively little damage on the ground, it has severely disrupted telephone and Internet communications across south-east Asia by damaging fibre-optic cables.

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom said that 98% of communication with Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong had been cut off.

Hong Kong telecommunications officials said that all seven of the main cables serving the SAR had been damaged, six of them seriously. Despite the damage, by Thursday all roaming and long-distance phone services were working again, except to Taiwan.

Internet service, however, is still very patchy, and for a while large parts of China were off-line altogether since most of its Internet access is via Hong Kong.

Cable operators said they had been able to re-route most traffic, but that complete restoration of the afflicted cables might take weeks. Some of them may have to be completely replaced. A flotilla of specialist vessels has set off to repair or replace the damaged cable sections.

Financial markets largely avoided shut-down, but bank Internet services were badly affected.


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