Middle East Internet outages now affect 85 million

With FLAG telecom now reporting damages to the FALCON undersea cable that actually occurred on January 23, one week before the four publicized cable cuts, experts are now beginning to reveal just how expansive the disruptions have been.

The severence of undersea cables FLAG Europe-Asia and SEA-ME-WE 4 about 8.3 km off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt, affected at least 60 million users in India, 12 million in Pakistan, 6 million in Egypt, and 4.7 Million in Saudi Arabia, according to DU telecom Executive Director Mahesh Jaishanker, in a statement to the United Arab Emirates-based Khaleej Times.

A further 1.7 million Internet users in the UAE were reported to be affected by research site TeleGeography. Qatar and Bahrain also rely heavily on the Internet for various business functions, but there is yet no estimate on how many have been affected there. Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, Secretary General of ictQATAR, the country's telecom regulatory authority, has said a national contingency plan will be set in place to prevent future service interuptions like these.

Though repairs have reportedly begun on FALCON, and FLAG Europe-Asia, SEA-ME-WE-4 still awaits attention.

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