Internet connection in turtle mode as undersea cable snaps again

By Nguyen Quy   August 24, 2018 | 05:02 pm PT
Internet connection in turtle mode as undersea cable snaps again
Internet users browse internet at a park in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
The disaster-prone AAG undersea cable has acted up again and internet speed in Vietnam is set to reduce significantly.

Internet connections in Vietnam could crawl at snail’s pace in the coming weeks after service on the Asia America Gateway (AAG) cable was disrupted at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, the Vietnam News Agency reported, citing an unnamed source from a local internet provider.

Other media reports have said that the location of the broken section and a timeline for repair work have not been revealed.

Since the disruption will affect all service providers in Vietnam, internet users are likely to experience sluggish speeds on international websites. Many users have reported disruptions while watching matches at Asian Games 2018 on Thursday night.

This is the fourth time the AAG cable has encountered a technical problem this year, following three instances in January, May and June, and at least five similar incidents in 2017.

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.

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 last August by, a U.K. broadband, TV, phone and mobile service provider.

Vietnam's average broadband speed is 10 times lower than its Southeast Asian neighbor Singapore, the survey found. However, the country was still ahead of 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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