Slower Bytes

Thailand Now Chewing Its Internet More Slowly

Bangkok Post, February 25, 2002

Mail link still out, business hit
No end to cyber-jam, slow e-mail in sight

The country's main Internet connection is still cut and businesses return to work today with the prospect of massive cyber jams and delays in simple tasks like e-mail.

Major providers continue to say they have no idea when full service will be restored.

Internet users have been e-limping since Thursday afternoon, when the underwater Asia Pacific Cable Network was cut off the coast of Pusan, in Korea.

The 45Mb international link fed most traffic in and out of Thailand for Internet Thailand, KSC and most service providers.

The main contractor, the Communications Authority of Thailand, has no Internet backup.

Firms scrambled over the weekend to get services back online but connections still crawled at a snail's pace. Both KSC and Inet added 8Mb to their services. Connections to major links like Hotmail were very difficult and e-mail was delayed up to 24 hours.

"Your connection will be slow," KSC told its customers in a message. Internet Thailand warned of delayed or interrupted services.

The APCN is a 12,000km fibre optic cable that runs from Japan to Singapore through Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

It is supposedly one of the world's most sophisticated submarine cable systems and the largest single optical fibre submarine cable network in the Asia Pacific region.

APCN contractors have not issued a statement. When the cable was "disconnected" last Thursday, Hong Kong and Singapore also dropped off line, but were back by Friday.

Srisakdi Charmonman, the president of the Thailand Internet Association, said the cracked optical fibre cable would have impacts on Internet service and electronic commerce in Thailand today but they should not get out of hand.

Most Internet service providers that are large-scale operators should have prepared other communication channels as backups in such a case of emergency. They reserved not only optical fibre cables but also transponders on satellites, he said.

Small-scale service providers might not have such backups but they could make urgent leases of communication channels from the Communications Authority of Thailand to relieve the problem, he said.

"Local and international business that is done through the Internet will be affected slightly if Korea has not finished repairing the cable. Internet users will have problems in sending and receiving e-mails slowly," Prof Srisakdi said.

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