Is your internet down? It’s because of Cyclone Vardah

Anand Murali December 13, 2016 2 min

If you’ve been wondering why your internet has been down or slow for the past few hours, it is because of a snag in undersea cables caused by Cyclone Vardah that has hit the south-east coast of India, ramming into Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Many ISPs have sent out messages to their customers informing them of this downtime. “Dear customers, you may experience intermittent connectivity issues on our network for next 24 hours due to network uplink issues caused by Cyclone Vardah. We are working actively to restore services to normalcy. Appreciate your understanding and regret inconvenience caused. Team ACT,” ACT Broadband informed customers through an SMS.

Many ISPs have sent out messages to their customers informing them of the internet downtime because of a snag in undersea cables caused by Cyclone Vardah  

Similarly, Airtel also sent out a message to its customers which read: “Dear Customer, the cyclone in Chennai has impacted one of our undersea network cables which may affect internet speeds of your Airtel Broadband connection. We deeply regret the inconvenience. Our engineers are working to resolve the issue and services will be normalised shortly.”

The network of undersea telecommunication cables, which consists of multiple independent cable links between cities and countries, forms the backbone of internet and other communication connectivity across the world. These cables are usually owned and operated by consortiums consisting of companies, including many telecom operators like Singtel, Etisalat, France Telecom and China Telecom.

undersea_cables
The longest optical submarine telecommunications cable is named SEA-ME-WE 3, which stands for South-East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 3, and spans 39,000 km

Chennai is one of the major landing points for these undersea cables in India, and the city was badly affected by Cyclone Vardah, which seems to have caused the damage.

These cables in the past have been broken or damaged by ships, apart from natural disasters like the one affecting India right now and also due to sabotage. In December 2008, there was a massive internet disruption across the globe due to damage caused to three undersea cable systems in the Mediterranean region.

Chennai is one of the major landing points for these undersea cables in India, and the city was badly affected by Cyclone Vardah, which seems to have caused the damage  

One of the major players in the undersea cable network is Global Cloud Xchange, a subsidiary of Reliance Communications. It owns the world’s largest private undersea cable system, which consists of five submarine cable systems spanning nearly 68,698 route km.

The longest optical submarine telecommunications cable is named SEA-ME-WE 3, which stands for South-East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 3, and spans 39,000 km. It was built by a consortium led by France Telecom and China Telecom.


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