Quake damage to undersea cables

Tuesday night's earthquake off Taiwan disrupted Internet and telephone communications all over East Asia. While Taiwan and Singapore seem to be hardest hit by the damage to the cables, some foreign websites in China are still not loading properly.

India's Business Standard has some technical information about the damage to the communications cables:

An earthquake off Taiwan last night, measuring 6.7-7.1 on the Richter scale, knocked out Internet links to India for 20-25 minutes and affected Reliance Communications’ FLAG and VSNL’s SEA-ME-WE-3 under-sea cable systems, even as telecommunications around Asia was severely disrupted, with Internet services slowing and financial transactions being hindered, particularly in the currency market. However, BPO and IT services across India remained largely unaffected.

...The damage was contained to some extent since the disruption took place at a time when data and voice traffic had not peaked in Europe and the US, which accounted for a major part of their businesses. The other reason was that all Indian players had accounted for such natural disasters and built in two levels of redundancies.

These companies have coverage across the Pacific and the Atlantic and if one of these links snaps, the other one takes over seamlessly.

The FLAG cable links India, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Korea and Japan. SEA-ME-WE 3 includes 39 landing points in 33 countries across four continents — from Western Europe to the Far East and Australia.

Other cables damaged in the quake included those of Asia-Pacific Cable Network, Asia Pacific Cable Network 2, Cable 2 Cable, China US Cable Network, and East Asia Cable.

A VSNL spokesperson said: “VSNL’s traffic has not been significantly affected by the earthquake in Taiwan since we do not have cable systems going there directly. SEA-ME-WE 3 interconnects with other cable systems in the region that has been affected, and hence the disruption. The company is taking action to re-route its affected traffic to other cable systems and normalcy is expected in about 24 hours.”... ...South Korea’s top fixed-line and broadband service provider, KT Corp, said six submarine cables were knocked out by Tuesday night’s earthquakes. “Twenty-seven of our customers were hit, including banks and churches,” a KT spokesperson said. “It is not known yet when we can fully restore services.”... ...Global information company Reuters Group said users of its services in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan had been affected, although dealing services were restored in Tokyo in the afternoon. The main quake, measured by Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau at magnitude 6.7 and at magnitude 7.1 by the US Geological Survey, struck off Taiwan’s southern coast on Tuesday. Two people were killed. In China, financial markets worked normally, but China Telecommunications Group, the country’s biggest fixed-line telephone operator and parent of China Telecom Corp, said Internet had been badly disrupted. ...Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan’s biggest telecom carrier, said two of the four major under-sea cables out of Taiwan had been affected, initially cutting more than half of its international telecommunications capacity. Calls to Southeast Asia were the worst affected, with less than 10 per cent going through — an improvement since the morning, when less than 2 per cent succeeded. KDDI Corp, Japan’s second-largest telecom company, said communication along submarine cables out of Japan went through Taiwan before reaching Southeast Asian countries, which was leading to disruption, but there were alternative lines. PCCW, Hong Kong’s main fixed-line telecom provider, said several under-sea cables it part-owned had been damaged. “Data transfer is down by half,” a spokesperson said. Both Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), Southeast Asia’s top phone company, and local rival StarHub Ltd said Internet services were slow. But SingTel said traffic was being diverted and repair work was in progress, adding, “Our submarine cables linking to Europe and the US have not been affected.” Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co said its Internet service was intermittent and international phone calls had been disrupted but domestic calls and its Smart mobile phone service were working normally.
There are currently 26 Comments for Quake damage to undersea cables.

Comments on Quake damage to undersea cables

"some foreign websites in China are still not loading properly" ...some?? In Nanjing using VNet ADSL, all foreign websites haven't been loading since the quake. There have been sporadic moments of accessibility at molasses in winter-like speed; otherwise, all queries return the Nanny-like "Cannot find server". The lone bright (localized) spot: Google.

In Beijing it is much less severe. The Internet is slow, but and ESWN are the only sites I tried that wouldn't load for me this morning.

I'm with Chengdude on this - I cant see any foreign websites at all during the day but late at night I can see lots of sites but very very slow.

Hope they get it fixed ASAP! This must be seriously affecting international trade! I know its putting me under a lot pressure!

Never mind - its the late Christmas vacation I never got and rightfully deserve.

[EDITOR'S NOTE (JG): Where are you?]

In Shenzhen, Google and meebo are about the only sites that I can access, and only sporadically. It was better last night, today it is horrible, and my Macau proxy is completely shot.

Mr. Goldkorn, Im in Qingdao.

Hey Danwei, thanks for being here! I've been freaking out... can't check email, can't get to load, can't get my im or voip programs to connect... and of course you have the answer for us. For the record, I'm in Beijing, and it's virtually impossible for me to get foreign sites to load. Are we due for another satellite or two?

In Shanghai, everything international is shot. Every so often, something like CNN will taunt you with a single loaded image, but will then stall completely. No MSN Messenger either... I wonder if QQ is winning converts.

ESWN has been working all along for me, though with problems loading images.


My location and experience are identical to that of Lucas, with the exception that I don't use Meebo.

Interestingly, Israeli sites like the Jerusalem Post and Indian sites like the India times still load, whereas the Daily Star (Lebanon) does not.

This corroborates earlier evidence that the 2004 tsunami was in fact the result of a covert collaboration between Israel and India. It seems that we're seeing the same thing here.

Even more interestingly, Al Jazeera also loads, providing clear evidence that it is in fact a front for the Mossad, as many have suggested.

I would reveal more, but my handlers wouldn't allow it.

Meanwhile here in Taipei, I've not noticed a jot of difference since the quake. Methinks Nanny may be using this as a convenient excuse.

I'm starting to think they may also be using this as a 'convenient excuse'. It's funny how it was working fine all night following the quake and worked fairly well up until yesterday afternoon, and now today, more or less useless.

Seems fishy...

Nothing coming through in Xiamen, either. My first reaction was that "they" were playing with the Great Firewall settings, but snapping a transpacific cable would make a big difference, I suppose... I can still get Japanese sites, so I suppose the northern cable is fine, but there's only supposed to be three cables into China, aren't there? Snap one and it's got to make a difference.

Yahoo email can be accessed via Yahoo China - at least that takes you to the log-in page faster. And turning images off helps speed things up a little.

Look on the bright side, spam is supposedly down 90%.

Does anyone know any Japanese web proxyies? I'm far too dumb to mess about with IP addresses, but Japan must have some anonymouse-like services? I've been playing with the Chinese ones, but not getting any joy... wait! I am stupid! Does the Google translator still work? Yes it does, and we're back, at slow speed, surfing like it's 1995... anything better, anyone?


if you're even able to access the site it might help, though even on UAE, Australian, Thai, etc. proxies, I'm still not having much luck. I think we'll all just have to wait it out.

i had a crash on your website, but now that i can just read your news, please update it more often, do it for all of us (readers).
everything interesting is shot down but this site.

Does anybody know when internet will be usable again?

Really, this is to the editors:

I am disappointed that even though you know your site is one of the only ones running and easily accessible, you haven't done a better job of filling in the gap....

We're all depending on you for information, more so than ever!

Please update more often!

Day 4...losing focus starting to blur...numbness in extremities...left with China Daily Forums; can feel the atrophy beginning...don't know how much longer I'll be able to hold out...Mom, Dad, I'm sorry...I love you both...

to chengdude:


In GZ things are very slow and spotty. I'm with Lucas on the 'convenient excuse' conspiracy. I've been running on my VPN connection with HK and have had little interruptions via that route.

No problem with my cocoa tin and string.....

Thanks for this Informations, its now more than two weeks i can't load chinese websites. and when i can its very very slow

The same in Dalian, I just got back from Canada to find that I most sites in north America are slow slow that they won't load.

Let's hope they get this sorted out quick-sharp. I've suffered enough power blackouts in the last month. This is all I need :(

Since the 28th, 75% of my mail to China (from Canada) has bounced back. Have 'resorted' to faxing! I almost forgot I have a fax machine! Hmmm, maybe should blow the dust off the old telex machine...

Anyone have updates on the situation?

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