December 19, 2008


Calls to and from Bangladesh have been seriously effected today. In case you are wondering why this happened here is the reason:
Internet and telephone traffic between Europe and the Middle East and Asia was hampered Friday after three major underwater data lines were cut, according to France Telecom.

The cut occurred on lines between 07:28 and 08:06 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on lines in the Mediterranean sea that connect Sicily to Tunisia and Egypt, the telecommunications company said.

The cuts were to the Sea Me We 4 and Sea Me We 3 lines, which connect countries between Singapore and France as well as the Flag cable route, which stretches from the U.K. to Japan, a France Telecom spokeswoman who asked not to be named said.
J of Shadakalo blog writes in E-Bangladesh that it may not return to normal levels until the end of the year and it will impact Bangladesh hardly:
The immediate impact is being felt by expatriates trying to call Bangladesh, or people trying to call out of Bangladesh to international destinations. Instead of gigabytes of bandwidth over the submarine cable, BTCL (former BTTB) and the three other International telecom gateways are working with only megabytes of capacity through VSATs. In BTCLs case, the capacity dropped from 1800 MBps to 240 MBps. BTCL and the other IGWs carry about 5 million minutes per day under normal conditions, which dropped to about 650,000 minutes. The result? Inconvenience for callers, lost revenue for BTCL and the other IGWs, and a near-fatal blow for the nascent call center industry in Bangladesh.

10 to 50 seat call centers have been in operation in Bangladesh for the last few months, and some of them were serving international customers. Now most of those call centers, without dedicated VSAT connections, have fallen silent. And when Monday comes, the hapless call center owners will have to answer to some very irate clients–clients who will not care that this was a global connectivity problem. Many of those clients will go to other call centers in other countries and never return, leaving our call center owners stuck with their investments.
The typical culprit in these undersea cuts are anchors from ships but this time Egypt is claiming there were no ships in the vicinity this time.

J adds:
lots of other countries are facing connectivity loss too. But there is a big difference: they are not connected to only one cable, so while they may lose 50% or 33% of their connectivity if one cable goes down, they don’t experience the 87% capacity loss experienced by Bangladesh.
As per Beta News the hardest hit countries by telecom traffic disruptions are:
Estimates given for voice-service disruptions indicate Maldives (100% out of service), India (82% out of service), Qatar (73%), Djibouti (71%), and United Arab Emirates (68%).
There was a debate about redundancy and be connected to a second submarine cable so that outages like this don't affect at this scale. In January this year the submarine cable was cut also almost near the same point in Alexandria.

In last February we heard that the Bangladesh Government will allow a second cable to be commissioned by the private sector. But we have not heard about it for a while. This should be the priority for the newly elected government.


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