(AFP) – Feb 3, 2008
DOHA (AFP) — An undersea telecoms cable linking Qatar to the United Arab Emirates was damaged, disrupting services, telecommunications provider Qtel said on Sunday, the latest such incident in less than a week.
The cable was damaged between the Qatari island of Haloul and the UAE island of Das on Friday, Qtel's head of communications Adel al Mutawa told AFP.
Cables were also damaged last week in the Mediterranean and off the coast of Dubai, causing widespread disruption to Internet and international telephone services in Egypt, Gulf Arab states and south Asia.
The cause of the damage is not yet known.
Mutawa said Qtel's loss of capacity had been kept below 40 percent over the weekend thanks to what he said was Qatar's large number of alternative routes for transmission.
The UAE telecommunications watchdog said disruption to Internet and telephone services in the Gulf state was likely to continue for 10 another days.
UAE telecoms provider "du" said in an statement on its website that the owners of the Mediterranean cables, FLAG Telecom and SEA-ME-WE4, were fixing the damage.
"While no schedule is available yet for the repair, initial estimates indicate it will take two weeks to repair the FLAG cable," the statement said.
"du has already started transfering Internet and international voice traffic through other cable systems that have not been affected, although some congestion may be expected at peak times until the issue is resolved."
The UAE's other telecoms provider, Etisalat, and Saudi Arabia's STC said they had not been affected.
Egypt's ministry of communications said on Saturday that Internet disruption would last another 10 days.
A repair ship was expected to begin work to fix the two cables in the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday. They were damaged on Wednesday, rupturing connections not only in Egypt but also thousands of kilometres away.
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