December 27, 2006 11:44 AM PST

Quakes disrupt phone, Internet service in Asia

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Two strong earthquakes off the coast of Taiwan damaged undersea communications cables, disrupting phone and Internet service in Taiwan, China and Japan on Wednesday.

The earthquakes hit late Tuesday on the second anniversary of the tsunami that killed thousands in South Asia on December 26, 2004. No large waves materialized from the earthquakes in Taiwan, but the area was on a tsunami alert. Two people were killed as a result of the earthquakes when a building collapsed, according to news reports.

The quakes were among the most powerful in Taiwan in recent years, knocking out two of seven undersea cables that are used by telecommunications companies to route phone calls and Internet traffic to and from East Asia. Although traffic that normally traverses these cables has been rerouted to other cables, traffic is congested, which has led to the disruption in service.

In Taiwan, Chungwa Telecom, the country's largest phone operator, told news agencies that it had lost between 40 percent and 60 percent of its capacity for international calling to places such as the U.S. The company also said that capacity to Japan and China was also affected. Chungwa also said that Internet access had been damaged in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. The company said it could take up to three weeks to repair the damaged cables.

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3 comments

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I noticed
The phone lines were damaged. I was wondering why the spam
level dropped for a while. That sucks because I missed out on some
penny stock tips.
Posted by Lee in San Diego (608 comments )
Reply Link Flag
From Mainland China
The network situation still sucks. I have to use proxy for internet access. But I also notice that the spam level drop significantly. It seems that we do not have trade deficit on this field at least.
Posted by guojc (1 comment )
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Mainland China
Mainland China was massively affected by this. Internal comms were fine but access to International systems was out all day yesterday and looking patchy this morning. It would be interesting to know how far this problem is compounded by the China Firewall and the fact that traffic is so tightly controlled - i.e. apparently being routed primarily through the South China sea.
Posted by satellite360 (2 comments )
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