Reports are coming in this morning that a fifth undersea fiber optic cable was severed in the Middle East. However, by several accounts, the fifth cable cut is actually a second cut on a different segment of the FALCON cable. How exactly these cables are being cut is still unknown, though Egyptian officials maintain a ship didn’t cause the breakages near the port of Alexandria.
The saga of cut cables and lost bandwidth began on January 23 when the Flag Telecoms FALCON undersea fiber optic cable near the Egyptian port of Alexandria was severed. On January 30 another cable called the SeaMeWe-4 (South East Asia-Middle East- Western Europe-4) cable was cut according to the Khaleej Times Online. Egyptian officials said that a review of ship traffic in the area at the time of the breakage precludes the damage being caused by a ships anchor.
Khaleej Times Online reports that on February 1 another cut appeared in the FALCON cable, which resulted in severe disruption of data service in the Gulf region. The rundown of cut cables in the region includes the FLAG Europe-Asia cable near Alexandria, FALCON near Bandar Abbas in Iran, SeaMeWe-4 near Alexandria, SeaMeWe-4 near Penang, Malaysia, and FLAG near the Dubai coast.
Mahesh Jaishanker executive director of Business Development and Marketing for TeleGeography is quoted by the Khaleej Times Online as saying, “The submarine cable cuts in FLAG Europe-Asia cable 8.3km away from Alexandria, Egypt and SeaMeWe-4 affected at least 60 million users in India, 12 million in Pakistan, six million in Egypt and 4.7 million in Saudi Arabia.”
DailyTech reported that the first pair of cables were severed on January 31, followed by a third cut undersea cable on February 4, and a fourth cut cable on February 5.