Thursday, December 28, 2006

Big quake jams Internet

HONG KONG - A strong earthquake in Taiwan has damaged several undersea cables in the region, jamming up the Internet and telecoms systems across much of East Asia, regional operators said yesterday.

The disruption was widespread, hitting services in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, with knock-on effects elsewhere, they said.

“Due to the earthquake that hit Taiwan (late Tuesday), several undersea data cables were damaged,” said a spokesman for PCCW, Hong Kong’s biggest telecoms company.

“Data traffic to Taiwan, Korea, Japan and the United States is affected,” he said, adding that the company was diverting data and monitoring repairs.

The spokesman said data capacity has been reduced to 50 percent and that there had been an upsurge in attempts to gain access to the Internet as people were trying to get information about the quake.

He cautioned that some Internet users in the region could experience congestion over the next several days.

Major telecom operators in Japan said damaged cables had jammed up phone lines and slowed down the Internet there.

NTT Communications, the internet and long-distance call business of Japan’s largest telecom firm Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., said some 1,400 toll-free phone lines as well as 84 international lines used internally by companies were affected.

A major 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocked Taiwan on Tuesday, leaving two people dead and at least 42 injured. AFP

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