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Vietnam awaits normal internet speeds after cable repairs

By Nguyen Quy   June 4, 2020 | 12:30 am PT
Vietnam awaits normal internet speeds after cable repairs
Internet users browse the Internet near an advertising billboard for 4G connection service at a bus stop in Hanoi, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Internet speed in Vietnam may improve next week after completion of repairs to the Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) cable.

A local internet service provider said ruptures on two sections of the cable system that links Vietnam with its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region would be fixed starting this Saturday and the repairs are scheduled for completion next Thursday (June 11).

Earlier, military-run telecom giant Viettel had announced that the cable’s S9 branch connecting Vietnam and Singapore suffered a disruption on April 30. Nearly a month later, the cable’s S1.7 section connecting Vietnam and Hong Kong was also disrupted, worsening internet speed in Vietnam. This prompted local internet service providers to reroute connections from the APG to other cables.

The APG, officially launched in December 2016, runs 10,400 kilometers (6,460 miles) under the Pacific Ocean, linking Japan with Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Installation of the cable with a capacity of more than 54 Tbps (Terabit per second) cost $450 million. It promised to double internet speeds in Vietnam and ease its reliance on the notorious Asia America Gateway (AAG), which has broken down or been shut down for maintenance on numerous occasions since 2011.

Repairs to the AAG undersea cable, which encountered a disruption on May 14, completed on Thursday morning.

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.

Meanwhile, internet service providers have reported a problem detected on Wednesday night on a Asia Africa Europe-1 branch connecting to Hong Kong. The cause of the problem and repair plan have not been announced.

Vietnam, where more than 64 percent of the population is online, currently has six submarine cable systems, plus a 120 gigabit channel that runs overland through China.

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