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    Due to Bad Weather: SMW3 Cable Failure, Affecting International Communications

    Cairo, 13 December 2010

    Telecom Egypt CEO: Operating the New Egyptian Cable in Early 2011 Fends Off Such Crises

    A sudden disruption occured in submarine cable SMW3 located between Egyptian coasts and the first branch unit located 250km off the shores of the Mediterranean, on last Sunday December 12th, 2010. The cause of this disruption, which was probably due to bad weather, is not clear.

    The international destination affected by this disruption are:

    - Cyprus
    - Portugal
    - Turkey
    - France
    - Greece
    - England
    - Italy
    - Germany
    - Morocco
    - Belgium

    In response to instructions from Minister of Communications and Information Technology Dr. Tarek Kamel, a team from Telecom Egypt was promptly formed and headed by CEO and Managing Director of Telecom Egypt, Mr. Tarek Tantawy. Other members were involved to figure out the reasons of this disruption and take the necessary actions for  securing international internet and voice traffic in Egypt. Moreover, Dr. Kamel directed Executive President of the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA), Dr. Amr Badawi to follow up on this issue.

    After studying the negative effects of this sudden disruption, it turned out that:

    • Worldwide Voice Services:
    Connectivity circles which carry the voice to the above mentioned European countries for some destinations. The team took all necessary measures to provide prompt alternative routes for the international voice traffic through other cables in coordination with different international carriers to secure traffic which helped avoid negative effects of the disruption.

    • Worldwide Internet Services

    The internet was affected negatively towards the north. Egypt lost almost 18GB/s towards Europe. Egypt Telecom team managed to take necessary measures to secure the international internet traffic which is done automatically through the TE-IP Transit Node shortly after the disruption took place.

    As soon as the disruption was determined, a maintenance boat belonging to the Mediterranean Cables Maintenance Authority is set to sail towards the location for maintenance process which is expected to take almost two weeks.
    The SMW3 cable is a submarine cable jointly extending from Australia to Germany for almost 39000Km.

    The cable is dropped down in 39 stations in 33 countries. It was launched in 2000 and is one of the longest submarine cables in the world.

    Through this disruption, it turned out how important to use alternatives to link Egypt to other countries; to the north in Europe and to the south though the Red Sea in the Arabian Gulf and south eastern Asia. Telecom Egypt and Orascom Telecom are jointly working on a submarine cable of their own, which is expected to operate soon to provide alternatives and avoid any disruption in international communications in case global cables are out of service. 

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