20 Dec 2008

Internet, phone traffic badly disrupted

10:04 pm on 20 December 2008

Internet and phone communications between Europe, the Middle East and Asia were severely disrupted on Friday after three undersea cables were damaged in the Mediterranean between Sicily and North Africa.

France Telecom says the cause of the cuts is still unclear, but it's unlikely to have been an attack. There may have been an underwater landslip.

The company says most business traffic between Europe and Asia is being rerouted through the United States, but 65% of traffic to India is down, and services to Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Taiwan and Pakistan are severely affected.

A ship has been sent to fix the cables but normal service may not be restored till 31 December.