John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Destroy All Bandwidth!

godzilla.jpgDuring the week of Jan. 28, Internet access to a large portion of the Middle East and South Asia was disrupted when five undersea Internet cables were cut or damaged in relatively quick succession. Egypt lost about 70% of its Internet capacity, India about 50%.

What caused the disruptions? Finding five accidental failures in a week a bit hard to swallow, conspiracy theorists were quick to claim sabotage. But the cable operators and the International Telecommunication Union insisted the most likely culprit was an errant boat anchor. And their argument seemed to be borne out when an abandoned anchor was discovered near the second cable to be cut.

But now it appears the ITU itself may be finding the errant-anchor theory a bit suspect. With repairs completed on four of the five cables, the ITU has presumably been able to perform a fair bit of analysis on the cables at issue here, and it’s not convinced that it was Mother Nature who damaged them. “We do not want to pre-empt the results of ongoing investigations, but we do not rule out that a deliberate act of sabotage caused the damage to the undersea cables over two weeks ago,” Sami al-Murshed, head of the ITU, told Agence France-Presse. “Some experts doubt the prevailing view that the cables were cut by accident, especially as the cables lie at great depths under the sea and are not passed over by ships.”