Repairs begin to critical undersea data cables

Two of the four undersea cables that provide data to much of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia which were severed late last week are now undergoing repair.

Reuters reported today that FALCON, the third of the cables to be cut on Friday evening, is currently being repaired. FLAG telecom's repair team was at first delayed in Abu Dhabi, UAE due to untoward weather, but has since managed to lay anchor at the break site despite what the group called "extreme weather conditions."

The work requires a team of approximately 50 technicians, navigation experts, and cable engineers to be on site for approximately one week per break. Due to the close proximity between FALCON and SEA-ME-WE-4 -- the line beginning in Marseille, France and ending in Singapore -- the same marine repair unit is scheduled to handle both.

A repair ship dispatched to the other cable owned by FLAG/Reliance Communications which was cut has not yet reported arrival.

The most recent cable severance took place on Friday between the Quatari Island of Haloul and the United Arab Emirates island Das about 100 miles northwest of the mainland, Quatar Telecom reported on Sunday. The cause of the latest outage has not been determined, but unofficial reports say it is due to a power grid failure, unlike the others which had been speculatively blamed on a "dragged anchor."

Most of the traffic that was typically handled by the cut cables has been re-routed to others, noticeably limiting the data and telephone capacity of affected countries, but still keeping them connected.

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