Repairs to Vietnam's busted internet cables to take up to four weeks

By Bao Anh   August 28, 2017 | 06:52 pm PT
The infamous Asia America Gateway was ruptured in two places, while the Intra Asia cable has also cracked just off Hong Kong.

Vietnam's internet speed slowed to a snail's pace on Sunday after the three internet cable systems connecting the country with the rest of the world went down. While no repair schedule has been set, the Vietnam Internet Association estimates it will take 3-4 weeks before they are back up to speed.

The exact cause of the problems remains unknown, but two tropical storms that hit the region over the past week are the most likely culprits, according to experts.

The submarine cables, known as the Asia America Gateway (AAG), Intra Asia (IA) and SEA-ME-WE3 (SMW3), all encountered problems on Sunday afternoon.

The AAG is believed to have been ruptured at two points about 66 kilometers (41 miles) and 85 kilometers from its Hong Kong station. Meanwhile, the IA's problem was reported to be a rupture about 54 kilometers from Hong Kong, according to one internet service provider (ISP).

Another ISP also reported bandwidth losses on all three cable systems. However most of its lost bandwidth on the SMW3 was restored on Monday morning, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted the ISP as saying.

Vietnam's ISPs have prepared backup plans to limit the damage caused by the ruptures and are prioritizing businesses and organizations, according to Vu The Binh, general secretary of the Vietnam Internet Association.

“After discovering the problems, we've rerouted international connections through other cables, including land-based branches through China, Laos, Thailand, the Asia Pacific Gateway (APG), the AAG branches through the U.S. and Singapore, and IA branches through Singapore and Japan,” an ISP announced.

Before Sunday's incident, the infamous AAG had already ruptured twice this year. Repair work for these problems, one in early January and one in late February, took about one month each. The IA has also ruptured three times this year.

Vietnam has six submarine cable systems, including Asia Africa Europe 1 which was launched last month and connects 19 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. The country also has a 120 gigabit/second channel that runs overland through China.

Around 60 percent of the country’s population of nearly 92 million are online.

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