Internet Outage hits Biz in India

Posted by Hitarth Jani | 2:36 AM | 0 comments »

Damage to undersea Internet cables hit business in India and Middle East on Thursday, including the vital call centre industry, prompting calls for people to limit their surfing.

India's call centre industry has been affected by the outages, with a telecommunications ministry statement saying productivity was down to 30 Percent. The statement named other affected Arab countries as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Qatar and Bahrain. India's internet dependent outsourcing industry was also severely disrupted, with businesses saying it may take up to 15 days to return to normal.

"Information technology companies, software companies and call centres that provide online services to the UK or the US East Coast are the worst affected" said the president of Internet Service Providers' Association of India. India's $11 billion outsourcing industry employs 700,000 people working for companies that deliver services ranging from answering customer queries to analysing equity markets for global clients. The industry serves clients mainly in the US and Europe.

Arount 70 per cent of Internet users in Egypt have been affected since two submarine cables in the Mediterranean Sea were damaged on Wednesday, also rupturing connections thousands of kilometers away. The cause of the damage is not yet known. State owned Saudi Telecom reported the loss of more than 50 per cent of its international lines, and said it did not know when normal service would be restored, the Arab News reported.

Egypt's telecommunications ministry said repairs would take "at least a week" and appealed for users not to overload the backup system with hefty downloads and file-sharing applications. "Two of our cables are affected, everyone will go onto a third cable", ministry spokesperson Mohammed Taymur told.

Bahrain's Batelco issued a statement appealing to people to limit use to browsing and email but to refrain from file-sharing applications which require more bandwidth. Gas-rich Qatar said that less than 40 per cent of its Internet services were affected but that international phone lines were functioning normally. The Al-Raya daily quoted one of national operator QTel's directors as saying that repairs in the Mediterranean could take up to two weeks.