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Internet services disrupted in Pakistan as undersea cable develops fault

The PTA said the fault developed at SEA-ME-WE 5 (South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 5), which is operated by the Trans World Associates (TWA).

By: PTI | Islamabad |
February 18, 2021 2:44:16 pm
The internet has again been the key for India to build its reputation as an IT services outsourcing destination over the last two decades. I know of people in the IT industry or investment banking crippled due to these internet shutdowns. (Image source: Pixabay/Representational)

Internet services were hampered in Pakistan on Thursday as the country’s telecom authority said one of its six international undersea cables developed a fault.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said the international submarine cable system near Abu Talat, Egypt, developed the glitch on Wednesday.

The authority acknowledged lower internet speeds and frequent outages.

The PTA said the fault developed at SEA-ME-WE 5 (South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 5), which is operated by the Trans World Associates (TWA).

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The Dawn newspaper reported that the TWA had communicated about the service degradation in international connectivity towards Europe and said that repair work was underway through international counterparts in Egypt.

“While the work to remove the fault is continuing, the internet service providers (ISPs) are being shifted to the spare capacity maintained by the company,” said a senior executive of the Trans World Associates.

The TWA and the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) are the two licence holders for international landing stations of submarine cables.

While the TWA operates SEA-ME-WE 5 and and TW-1 (Transworld), the PTCL submarine cable network comprises SMW-3, SMW-4, I-ME-WE and AAE-1.

The TWA systems cater to about 40 per cent of internet traffic in Pakistan and the company executive acknowledged that the internet users across the country will experience downgraded speeds until the users are shifted.

The fault has occurred in the cable system coming from France and the TWA executive said ISPs were in the process of shifting the load to other submarine systems coming from Singapore, according to the Dawn newspaper.

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