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Taiwan Quake Disrupts Internet Usage

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MonsoonMaiden

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And I was wondering why the net was so slow. I'd received a dozen SMS alerts on the Taiwan quake, but didn't take much notice because it was so far away ... we're more concerned with quakes around the Sumatra region. Who would think that a quake in Taiwan would still affect us! :drinks:

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Dec 28, 2006, 0.00 am (Singapore time)

Home users and businesses cut off from websites abroad

THOUSANDS of home users and companies here found themselves cut off from the Internet on Wednesday morning, after several undersea telecommunications cables were damaged in the Taiwan earthquake.

In one of the most extensive disruptions here in years, IDD calls to Taiwan as well as two cable TV channels here were also affected.

Internet users who tried to go online early in the morning found they could not access overseas websites and sometimes failed to send or receive e-mail.

Access to websites based here, like the Singapore Government's, were not affected, as the traffic did not have to be routed overseas.

The problem began to ease in the afternoon, when the telecoms traffic was diverted to other cables unaffected by the earthquake.

By then, however, the breakdown had caused widespread disruption for companies that relied on the Net for business, including big firms with extensive telecoms links.

Both SingTel and StarHub were inundated with calls from customers.

SingTel, which co-owns three of the damaged cables as part of a consortium, said work was under way to repair the cables.A StarHub spokesman said Internet users can expect to face slow traffic for at least a few days.

Transmission of two of StarHub's cable TV channels - Hallmark and TV5Monde - was also disrupted because the images are delivered over the affected cables to Singapore.

Meanwhile, IDD calls made to Taiwan by SingTel, StarHub and MobileOne customers could not be completed for several hours until evening.

At SunPage, IDD calls to the United States, Japan and Taiwan were affected, though a spokesman said the problem had been fixed by 6pm, with the exception of calls to Taiwan.

The downtime also affected news agencies Reuters and Bloomberg, which provide live financial information to markets in the region.

Bloomberg's wire services in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and in parts of India were disrupted. The business news agency could not say when services would be fully restored.

At stockbrokers UOB Kay Hian, online trading was hit. Customers trying to trade shares online had difficulty logging on to its website and also could not view stock charts.

The problem caught many people here by surprise.

Even though it was spotted late on Tuesday night, shortly after the first reports of the powerful Taiwan quake, the disruption became clear only on Wednesday morning when many people went online.

Consultant Steven Ng, 32, said: 'The problem became better in the evening, but it was still on and off when I tried going to Google.'

The last time users here faced a similar problem was in May last year, when an undersea cable between Singapore and the Philippines was cut. Only StarHub users were affected then.

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