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Damaged Cable Disrupts Internet in the Middle East

A breakdown in an international undersea cable network disrupted Internet links to Egypt, India and Gulf Arab countries on Wednesday, and Egypt said it could take several days for its services to return to normal. It was not immediately possible to gauge the impact of the disruption on financial institutions. Egypt's telecoms ministry said 70 percent of the country's Internet network was down and India initially said it had lost over half its bandwidth. "This cut has affected Internet services in Egypt with a partial disruption of 70 percent of the network nationwide," the Egyptian ministry said in a statement. Residents of Gulf Arab countries also reported a slowdown in Internet connectivity.

The Bahrain Telecommunications Co said its services were affected after two undersea cables were cut near Alexandria, on Egypt's north coast. The Egyptian telecoms ministry said it did not know how the cables were cut or if weather was a factor. Storms had forced Egypt to close the northern mouth of the Suez canal on Tuesday. India also reported serious disruptions to its services and Rajesh Chharia, president of the Internet Service Providers' Association of India, told Reuters: "There has been a 50 to 60 percent cut in bandwidth." Chharia told the Headlines Today news channel that a "degraded" service would be up and running by Wednesday night, but full restoration would take 10 to 15 days. "The big operators have transferred their small broadband connectivity through the Pacific route, and that's the reason there's no hue and cry in the country," he said.

View: Full Story @ Reuters

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