Undersea Internet cable repair to take two more weeks

By Nguyen Quy   April 9, 2020 | 04:30 pm PT
Undersea Internet cable repair to take two more weeks
A man browses internet on his cell phone in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Vietnamese will continue to suffer from an Internet slowdown until repairs to the AAG undersea cable are completed on April 21.

The operator of the Asia America Gateway has notified local service providers that repairs on the disaster-prone cable would begin on April 17 and things are expected to return to normal by the 22nd.

On April 2 the cable’s S1 branch connecting Vietnam and Hong Kong experienced a technical problem, which slowed down traffic.

It has affected international bandwidths connected to Vietnam.

The disruption has come at a time when millions of people are studying or working from home amid a 15-day nationwide social distancing campaign to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Internet traffic increased by 40 percent in March, according to data from the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority.

Vietnam has six submarine cable systems and a 120 gigabit channel that runs overland through China.

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

But it has experienced frequent ruptures and repairs, affecting services in Vietnam, where more than 64 percent of the population is online.

Vietnam's average broadband speed is a 10th of Singapore's 70.86 Mbps, a third of Malaysia's 23.86 Mbps and half of Thailand's 18.21 Mbps.

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