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Several Cable Cuts Disrupt European Internet Traffic
By: MarkJ - 20 December, 2008 (9:33 AM)

Three major undersea cables, the FLAG FEA, SMW4, and SMW3 lines, have all been severed resulting in disruption of Internet traffic between Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. The cut, which occurred 130km off the island of Sicily in the Mediterranean, could take days to fix:

France Telecom told BBC News Online: "The causes of the cut, which is located in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia, on sections linking Sicily to Egypt, remain unclear."

Jonathan Wright, director of wholesale products at Interoute which manages part of the optical fibre network, said: "This will grind economies to a halt for a short space of time. If you think how quickly trades can be placed, if they are suffering from bad latency times, then by the time a trade is placed, the market may well have moved on."

It's reported that some seismic activity was also recorded near Malta prior to the incident. Meanwhile India was said to be among the worst affected, losing up to 65% of its traffic with Europe.

More worrying perhaps is that the cuts leave just one line left and if that last one were to go then connectivity to a significant part of the world could be almost totally lost. Cue conspiracy theories about industrial espionage, terrorism, Russians and sea monsters from outer space (but not the ones from 'The Abyss' because they were nice, allegedly).

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