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Middle East: Internet Outage Enrages Bloggers

What is a blogger without access to the Internet? This was the dilemma facing tens of thousands of bloggers in parts of the Middle East and Asia, after a cable in the Mediterranean was damaged, crippling millions of Internet users. No surprise, some of the region's bloggers were fuming especially when they realised that it could take up to two weeks to fix the damage and have to deal with slow Internet in the meanwhile.

Qatar:

Thanks to slow Internet, Mohamed Nanabhay in Doha sends us a Twitter message saying:

Apparently some undersea cables have been damaged near Alexandria, Egypt and thus the 28.8k type internet speeds on my ADSL..

Bahrain:

Braving slow connections, Bahraini Mahmood Al Yousif says the fact that such a large part of the world depends on ‘one cable’ for its online communications is ridiculous and needs to be addressed. He adds:

The real question is, how is much of the fastest growing economies in the world dependent on a single undersea cable? Didn’t anyone think of a redundancy plan which covers just such an eventuality? One which would withstand such a technical disruption with complete transparency to the customers?

Ammar too was left scratching his head and after listing his country's achievements goes on a rampage saying:

It boggles the mind to think that a country on the scale of the above would actually be internetless for a full day. Yup, the internet was down EVERYWHERE today morning, probably for a good 8 hours or so, and we just got it back about 30 minutes ago. That's for people, companies, banks, institutions, schools, coffee shops, etc.

They are joined by Ali7, another disgruntled customer. Meanwhile, Bint Battuta calls on bloggers to leave their frustrations at home and attend the country's Blogger's meeting instead. She notes:

Don't sit at home feeling frustrated by your slow internet connection!
Come and talk to people instead!
We're meeting on Saturday (2 February).

Kuwait:

In Kuwait, Forza blames Egypt for the cut, while Mark volunteers:

Slow internet is better than no internet

K The Kuwaiti says it may take two weeks to fix the problem and Fonzy describes life without Internet, saying:

I’m sure yesterday was a frustrating day for a LOT of people. At around 11:00 a.m. the internet was down in the whole Middle East. Everything seems functional today but it is still a little slow, but I got to say that although it was cut for less than a day, it felt like eternity!

UAE:

Syrian blogger Dubai Jazz, who lives in Dubai, is also angry with an Egyptian fisherman for the breakdown of Internet communications in the region. He writes:

I couldn't do anything significant during the slow down. I couldn't even post comments on my own blog let alone others. Gmail was also down. Youtube? … forget about it.

All this was because some extra-witty Egyptian fisherman has decided to drop his anchor deep in the Mediterranean. Not only he'd dropped the anchor so deep and hurt one of the cables supplying bites to the Middle East and India, he had also dragged his anchor for 400 meters and cut another main cable in the process.

We could live with one cable cut, but two?

That, in my standard, is unprecedented.
And the fisherman is certainly demented.

Tunisia:

“Internet goes down, everything goes down…” writes Subzero Blue from Tunisia. He then takes the opportunity to reflect on our attachment to technology and its impact on everything we do. He notes:

This is what's so scary about technology; we quickly get so used to it, we integrate it into our everyday lives and work, we become dependent on it for everything we do, and then when it fails for one reason or another our lives stop, we're left crippled and helpless; we can't go back and we can't move forward; we just have to wait for things to be sorted out so we can go back to life as usual.

We're too dependent on technology, and we don't have a fail-safe plan; a major technological meltdown in the future could bring the whole world to a stand-still; and blow us back centuries into the past.

6 comments

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  • Sajit Viswan

    It took some time to realise why the pop mail was breaking off each time I tried to send a email. It took a call to confirm the problem to the broken cable.

    Does anyone know?

    1) How do these cables get broken?
    2) How does the slower connection possible without the route through the cable?

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