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Undersea Hazards Disrupt Mideast Internet Access

Around the Middle East and India, millions of people have been dealing with Internet outages or slowdowns because of breaks in four underwater cables in the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf.

On Jan. 30, two cables in the Mediterranean broke; they account for 75 percent of the capacity between Europe and the Middle East. During the next few days, two more cables in the Persian Gulf were disabled in different events.

Repair efforts are under way. The breaks in the Mediterranean are believed to be linked to a single event. In the Gulf, a five- or six-ton ship anchor might have caused damage to one of the lines, while the other outage is being attributed to a power failure.


Eric Schoonover is a senior analyst at TeleGeography Research, which specializes in global Internet infrastructure. He talks to Robert Siegel about the recent breaks and how undersea cables enable the Internet to make its way around the world.

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