Internet gets slower in Vietnam, undersea cable repairs delayed

By Nguyen Quy   September 3, 2019 | 03:49 am PT
Internet gets slower in Vietnam, undersea cable repairs delayed
People play computer games at an internet shop in Hoi An in central Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Minh Duy.
Repair work on the disaster-prone AAG undersea cable will be completed eight days behind schedule, and Vietnamese internet users will suffer slower speeds.

The Asia America Gateway (AAG) suffered a disruption on August 16 in the section connecting Ho Chi Minh City to Hong Kong, about 125 kilometers from the shore off the southern beach town Vung Tau.

The cable operators have said that maintenance work on the infamous undersea cable would be finished at 11 p.m. on September 11. They said the reason for the late repair was that technicians only got to the location last Sunday, three days later than the original plan (August 29).

A local internet service provider also said that another section of the AAG cable has also suffered a disruption, but provided no more details. The technicians’ team will repair the faulty section on September 6 and is expected to complete its work on September 10.

Connected in November 2009, the $560-million AAG cable handles more than 60 percent of the country’s international internet traffic. The system is more than 20,000 kilometers (12,420 miles) long, 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 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 7.02 megabytes per second, internet speed in Vietnam is ranked 89th out of 207 countries and territories, down 14 places from last year, according to a survey done by Cable, a U.K. broadband, TV, phone and mobile provider.

Vietnam's average broadband speed was recorded as being 10 times slower than Singapore at 70.86 Mbps, more than three times slower than Malaysia (23.86 Mbps) and more than two times slower than Thailand (18.21 Mbps).

Around 64 million people in Vietnam, or over half of the country’s population, are online.

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