Pakistanis continue to face slow internet speed after cable system collapse

Three out of six cables connecting Pakistan to the world have developed faults one after the other

Salman Siddiqui August 05, 2017

KARACHI: Internet speed in Pakistan has slowed down to half after international infrastructure partially collapsed on Saturday.

Three out of the total six cables connecting Pakistan to the world have developed faults one after the other in the last couple of months.

Among the three faulty cables, the latest one is the submarine cable system IMEWE [India-Middle East-Western Europe] which developed a fault early on Saturday morning.

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) operates the cable in Pakistan, as part of the international consortium owns the cable worldwide.

PTCL General Manager Imran Janjua told The Express Tribune that the fault occurred near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. "A team representing the international consortium has been activated to diagnose the fault and remove this.

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"The team will shortly submit a report disclosing cause of the fault and the estimated time required for repair.

"The repair would definitely take a few days depending upon nature of the fault," he said.

Internet users may continue to face the situation for quite a long time, as another cable SEA-ME-WE4, also owned by PTCL, is already under repair by an international consortium for over one-month now.

The cable carries fault in Karachi, Pakistan region.

The third faulty cable connecting Pakistan to the world, TW-1 which is owned by Transworld, is lying faulty for over a month now as well.

The disruption in the global internet infrastructure has impacted broadband users from all walks of life in Pakistan, including mobile broadband 3G/4G/LTE users, landline users and corporate users having dedicated speed connections.

The speed would have gone dead-slow if Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTC) had not connected the country to the world via the latest and the largest submarine cable (AAE1) last month.

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"This [move of traffic] has caused breaking the internet speed in Pakistan, as three cables are sharing burden of the faulty cables," an official at a mobile phone service providing firm commented.

He said internet users on cellular broadband were equally impacted. They like others have, however, successfully switched their customers to the working cables by the PTCL.

"The speed may remain slow till the faulty cables are restored," he said.

PTCL Chief Business Development Officer Sikandar Naqi said at a press statement that customers would experience slow internet browsing. “In order to minimise the service impact, the PTCL has undertaken necessary measures to arrange additional/alternate bandwidth through its other cable systems and international cable business partners," he said.

According to another industry official, Pakistan is not the only country in the world facing slowdown in the internet speed, but the other countries which have moved to alternate cables from the faulty ones are also facing a similar situation.


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