Disaster-prone cable drags internet in Vietnam again

By Nguyen Quy   June 16, 2018 | 04:43 am PT
Disaster-prone cable drags internet in Vietnam again
Vietnam's internet has been disrupted by technical problems several times this year.
Third time that the AAG has ruptured this year, following breaks in January and May.

Vietnam’s millions of internet users and millions of football fans are not a happy lot this weekend.

They have just heard that service on the Asia America Gateway (AAG) cable has been disrupted, which means sluggish access to international websites, at a time the football World Cup, the most followed sporting event in the world, is underway in Russia.

A local internet service provider said unstable power supply could be the cause, and no repair schedule has been announced, a Vietnam News Agency report said.

The disruption will affect all service providers in Vietnam, it added.

This is the third time the AAG has ruptured this year, following two instances in January and May.

Connected in November 2009, the $560-million AAG cable handles more than 60 percent of the country’s international internet traffic. The system runs more than 20,000 kilometers (12,420 miles), connecting Southeast Asia and the U.S., passing through Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Since its debut, the cable has encountered a "very high" risk of rupture and been under frequent repair, affecting all service providers in Vietnam.

The cable suffered technical errors at least five times in 2017.

Vietnam currently has six submarine cable systems, as well as a 120 gigabit channel that runs overland through China. With a download speed of 5.46 megabytes per second, Vietnam's internet speed was ranked 74th out of 189 countries and territories in a global survey of broadband speeds compiled by Cable.co.uk, a U.K. broadband, TV, phone and mobile provider, last August.

Vietnam's average broadband speed is 10 times lower than its Southeast Asian neighbor Singapore, according to the survey. However, the country still managed to trump six other countries in the region.

More than 50 million people in Vietnam, or more than half of the country’s population, are internet users.

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