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Al-Arabiyah reports on internet, communications outage in Middle East

BBC Monitoring

Text of report by Dubai-based, Saudi private capital-funded pan-Arab news channel Al-Arabiya TV on 31 January

[Announcer-read report]

A fault in the undersea cable linking Europe and the Middle East, whose causes are unknown yet, have caused a wide disruption in the communications and Internet networks in the region. It is still unknown yet if this problem would be overcome within hours or would lead to faults in wide operations related to the Internet and the communications.

[Begin recording of report by Al-Arabiya's Khalid Uways] A problem that has never been thought about and could lead to serious economic damage took place. A fault whose causes have not become clear yet in the undersea cable between Europe and the Middle East and leading to India and Singapore - specifically the cable between Palermo, in Italy, and Alexandria in Egypt - led to serious problems in the Internet service in the Middle East and India.

The problem in its first day led to severe slowness in the Internet in the region in addition to the full outage in some communicatio! ns networks. In Egypt, a 70 per cent outage in the Internet service and the communications has taken place in most parts of the country. In spite of attempts by competent technical teams to provide alternative routes via satellites, the slowness continues in the communications and internet.

In Dubai, which is provided by Internet services by two companies, one provider remained operational but at extremely slow rate. The Internet was partially damaged in Kuwait, while it was slightly affected in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar. As for India, the outage was estimated at 60 per cent.

The resumption of the normal service may last for several days, and the size of the damage caused to the financial market has not become clear yet. However, in Egypt for example, the damage affected some foreign orders in the stock exchange operations.

Hopes are still pinned on a quick repair of this fault, but if the current efforts fail many daily transactions related to the ! communications will be disrupted in their turn. [End recording] [Video from archives of people using the Internet]

Source: Al-Arabiya TV, Dubai, in Arabic 1038 gmt 31 Jan 08



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