SingTel users affected as submarine cable cut

August 12th, 2009 | by Alfred Siew

SingTel broadband users are seeing their webpages load slower than usual today, after what appears to be a pretty serious cut in the APCN2 submarine cables carrying Internet traffic in and out of Singapore.

The complaints had been coming in through Twitter and online forums the entire day, but it was not until late in the afternoon that confirmation came from ZDNet Asia that the problem was due to a fault in the APCN2 system, which serves a large part of the Asia-Pacific region.

The fault means users are only getting slow connections to overseas websites. Webpages are displaying slowly, while IM (instant messaging) messages are often slow to go through or are dropped altogether.

Quoting Malaysian telecom operator TM, ZDNet Asia said that the fault appears to be off the coast of China.

According to a notice sent by Malaysian telco, TM Net, the cable fault was traced to segment 7 of the APCN2, which stretches between Shantou, China and Tanshui, Taiwan. TM Net traced the outage to Typhoon Morakot, which hit the region over the weekend.

Additionally, segment 1 of the APCN2 is also currently under repair. Repairs on segment 7 are expected to commence after work on segment 1 is completed.

Submarine cable cuts are commonly affected by typhoons and earthquakes. During the Asian telecom blackout of December 2006, communications in the region came to standstill after a quake in Taiwan damaged several cable systems at one go, leaving few backup options for telcos.

Submarine cables are also prone to damage from ships. Following the routes of global commerce, the cables are usually laid along busy shipping lanes, where vessels are known to accidentally break the cables while dropping anchor.

Just last month, TM said APCN2 suffered a cut in the segment between Kuantan and Katong, Singapore, slowing down the access of many Malaysian users.

Speeds are expected to be back to normal tomorrow evening, according to ZDNet Asia.

UPDATE: StarHub has said its users have also “enquired” about slow Internet connections to overseas websites, due to a submarine cable cut. In a message on its website, it said its engineers are re-routing traffic to restore normal service.

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