ALKHOBAR, 1 February 2008 — Disruption to communications in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East and South Asia continues due to a cut in two submarine cables in the Mediterranean Sea.
There is no definite time specified for the repair but early indications are that at least 10 days and perhaps two weeks will be needed to bring both cables back to full service.
Estimates have put disruption of Egypt’s nationwide Internet network as high as 70 percent. India is thought to have suffered up to 60 percent disruption. In Saudi Arabia, there is no official estimate of the damage to Internet services, but a manager at one local Internet service provider (ISP) believed that “the Kingdom is struggling to cope with a situation worse than that created by the Algerian earthquake in 2003.”
Throughout the region there are reports that business operations from international stock trading to call centers have been affected by the diminished availability of connectivity. As companies become aware that communication is difficult online, many are switching to telephone systems.
In the coming week, communication across the region will be challenging. It is expected that the problem will grow as companies return to business in Saudi Arabia on Saturday and try to use online services.