Taiwan quake damages RP Internet links
By Erwin Oliva
Last updated 01:03pm (Mla time) 12/27/2006
THE 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Taiwan early Wednesday damaged the Philippines’ links to the Internet, telecommunications executives have said.
BayanTel spokesman John Rojo confirmed this and said he was not sure when normal services would resume.
In a separate interview, Wilson Chua, Internet Service Provider owner, said that there was “massive damage” in the international links.
Chua said his connection to at least four major telecommunications firms -- Globe Telecommunications, BayanTel, Digitel, and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. -- had been down since this morning.
PLDT officials could not be reached for comment as of posting time.
At least three Internet cafes in Manila visited by INQUIRER.net had been closed due to the service interruptions.
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the southern Taiwanese town of Hengchun Wednesday, killing two and triggering a regional tsunami alert.
Quake disrupts Asia communications
SINGAPORE (Reuters) -- Telecommunications around Asia were severely disrupted on Wednesday after earthquakes off Taiwan damaged undersea cables, slowing Internet services and hindering financial transactions, particularly in the currency market.
Banks and businesses across the region reported problems with communications, with some telephone lines cut and Internet access slowing to a crawl.
South Korea's top fixed-line and broadband service provider, KT Corp, said in a statement that six submarine cables were knocked out by Tuesday night's earthquakes.
"Twenty-seven of our customers were hit, including banks and churches," a KT spokesman said. "It is not known yet when we can fully restore the services."
Banks in Seoul said foreign exchange trading had been affected.
"Trading of the Korean won has mostly halted due to the communication problem," said a dealer at one domestic bank.
Some disruption was also reported in the important Tokyo currency market but the EBS system that handles much dollar/yen trading appeared to be working.
Global information company Reuters Group Plc said all users of its services in Japan and South Korea had been affected.
One Tokyo foreign exchange trader said: "There are many currencies in which market-making is being conducted via Reuters and such currencies such as the Australian dollar and the British pound are in a very tenuous situation now."
In China, trading in currencies and copper appeared to be normal and both the Shanghai stock market and money market were working.
But China Telecommunications Group, the country's biggest fixed-line telephone operator and parent of China Telecom Corp., said the earthquakes had affected lines "from the Chinese mainland to places including the Taiwan area, the United States and Europe, and many have been cut".
"Internet connections have been seriously affected, and phone links and dedicated business lines have also been affected to some degree," it said.
Officials declined to give further details. "Undersea communications cables fall in the area of state secrets," said a ministry of communications official in Beijing.
The main quake, measured by Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau at magnitude 6.7 and at magnitude 7.1 by the U.S. Geological Survey, struck off Taiwan's southern coast at 1226 GMT on Tuesday. Two people were killed.
Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom said two of four major undersea cables out of Taiwan had been affected. Voice circuits had been reduced to 40 per cent of capacity to the United States and just 2 per cent to most parts of Southeast Asia.
KDDI Corp., Japan's second-largest telecoms company, said communications along submarine cables out of Japan went through Taiwan before reaching Southeast Asian countries, which was leading to disruption.
But it said communications were unlikely to break down completely since there were alternative lines.
PCCW, Hong Kong's main fixed-line telecoms provider, said several undersea cables it part-owned had been damaged. "Data transfer is down by half," a spokeswoman said.
Both Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), Southeast Asia's top phone company, and local rival StarHub Ltd., said customers were suffering slow access to Internet pages.
But SingTel said traffic was being diverted and repair work was in progress, adding: "Our submarine cables linking to Europe and the U.S. are not affected."
Source: Captain's Log