Dubai: Damage to two major undersea cables caused internet and phone disruptions throughout the UAE and the world on Thursday.

The damage to the fibre optic cables, which connect western Europe to the Middle East and Asia, occurred off of the Egyptian coast. "du has been informed that the cuts on both FLAG and SEA-ME-WE4 cables occurred at approx 12km north of Alexandria.

This incident has impacted international and regional telecom services from operators across the Middle East, Egypt and India.

"The two cables are 400m apart at this point which suggests that a ship has dragged its anchor through both cables," said Osman Sultan, du's CEO, in an emailed statement.

UAE services rerouted

The statement also said the repair process has started on both lines.

Both du and etisalat have said they have rerouting phone and internet services. No timeframe has been set for the repairs, but initial estimates indicate it will take at least two weeks to repair the FLAG cable.

Cherif Sleiman, director of Advanced Technology for Cisco Systems in Dubai, said there was only a very small impact at Cisco, but a number of Cisco employees who work from home had to come into the office to be productive, he said.

Sleiman said that such disruptions could result in severe loss of revenue for a lot of companies, such as financial institutions and multinational firms, who rely on their network connections.

Have your say
Have you experienced any internet service disruption? How has it affected you?

Your comments

The Yahoo and MSN messengers are not working and these are the two main messaging services. I own an internet cafe in Sharjah and from the morning I have not made a single penny.
Posted: February 01, 2008, 15:20

I have not been able to retrieve my emails from my email server, which is hosted in the US, since Friday morning. Further, the internet also looks considerably slower.
Posted: February 01, 2008, 15:14

My internet is perfectly fine, actually even better than before.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: February 01, 2008, 15:13

I am finding it impossible to access any bank's website to allow me to effectively manage my finances.
Posted: February 01, 2008, 14:53

I never imagined the damage of only two cables would cause all this trouble in the Middle East and India. I think they will have to work on other solutions in the future for redundancy.
Posted: February 01, 2008, 14:23

I have experienced the problem and it takes ages for some websites to open. No time frame has been set so I think etisalat should wave off the charges until the problem is sorted out.
Posted: February 01, 2008, 14:04

I work in Dubai Internet City, we were effected by this issue early on Wednesday until the afternoon of Thursday. The internet was literally crawling in DIC and it felt like we were back to the dial up days.
Posted: February 01, 2008, 13:35