Taiwan Quake Disrupts Phone, Web Service

Andre Kesteloot andre.kesteloot at verizon.net
Wed Dec 27 10:55:23 CST 2006

And this is why we must have a 'Plan B'.  HF works.
André N4ICK


*Taiwan Quake Disrupts Phone, Web Service
Published: 12/27/06, 9:45 AM EDT

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Telephone lines and Internet service went dead 
across much of Asia on Wednesday after two powerful earthquakes damaged 
undersea cables used by several countries to route calls and online traffic.

Repairing the cables could take weeks because crews have to pull them up 
and transfer them to a ship for repair, said Lin Jen-hung, vice general 
manager of Chunghwa Telecom Co., Taiwan's largest phone company.

The quakes jolted Taiwan late Tuesday, setting off a tsunami alert on 
the second anniversary of the Dec. 26, 2004, waves and quake that killed 
230,000 in nine countries from the Indonesian islands to east Africa.

Two cables were damaged, both off Taiwan's coast, Chunghwa said.

The company reported a 50 percent loss of overall telephone capacity, 
with connections to China, Japan and Southeast Asia most affected.

Chunghwa also said almost all of Taiwan's communications capacity with 
Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong was disrupted. Also hard hit 
was telephone service to the U.S., where 60 percent of capacity was 
lost, the company said.

Internet access in Beijing was cut or extremely slow, while Japanese 
customers were having trouble calling India and the Middle East. In 
South Korea, dozens of companies and institutions were affected, 
including the country's Foreign Ministry.

Hong Kong telephone company PCCW Ltd., which also provides Internet 
service, said the quake cut its data capacity in half. Many Internet 
users were unable to access Web sites in parts of America, Taiwan and 
South Korea. Calls to Taiwan weren't connecting.

Internet access was cut or extremely slow in Beijing, said an official 
from China Netcom, China's No. 2 phone company. The official, who would 
not give his name, said the cause was thought to be the earthquake, but 
he had no further details.

Businesses in various parts of the city also said they were experiencing 
Internet access problems.

CCTV, the state-run television network, said China Telecom Corp., 
China's biggest phone company, was contacting counterparts in the U.S. 
and Europe about using satellites to make up for the shortfall.

KDDI Corp., Japan's major carrier for international calls, said its 
fixed-line telephone service was affected by the quake. Company 
spokesman Haruhiko Maeda said customers were having trouble calling 
India and the Middle East, which are usually use the cables near Taiwan.

Maeda said the company was rerouting calls to go through the U.S. and 
Europe and the company did not know how long it will take to repair the 

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said that 
international roaming service provided by Japan's major three 
telecommunications - NTT DoCoMO, KDDI, and Softbank, was affected. 
Ministry official Akira Yamanaka said that some customers were unable to 
make calls using their cell phones in countries including Taiwan.

South Korea's largest telecom company, KT, said that lines it uses were 
damaged, affecting dozens of companies and institutions, including South 
Korea's Foreign Ministry.

However, the quake didn't cause problems for ordinary people using 
Internet and telephone service, according to Ku Ja-hong, a KT spokesman.

The quake, which hit offshore from the southern town of Hengchun, was 
felt throughout Taiwan. It shook buildings and knocked objects off the 
shelves in the capital, Taipei, in the northern part of the island.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimated its magnitude at 7.1, while 
Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau measured it at 6.7. It was followed 
eight minutes later by 7.0 magnitude aftershock, the USGS said. A 
5.9-magnitude aftershock struck early Wednesday, the Central Weather 
Bureau said.

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