The 7.1 magnitude earthquake which struck off Taiwan’s southern coast Tuesday has dealt a sharp blow to telecommunications and Internet service in south Asia and the Pacific Rim, as companies estimate it may take weeks to fully restore service. Communications providers are attempting to re-route traffic destined for areas as diverse as Hong Kong, Japan, China, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and India, but congestion and service outages may impact services for weeks.
According to Verizon, as many as 18 underseas telecommunications cables serve the Pacific Rim and south Asia; several cables were damages as a result of the Taiwan earthquake, and it may take weeks to get repair teams into the area, locate the problems, and effect repairs.
The U.K.’s Cable & Wireless has been redirecting traffic throgh Australia and Japan. Chunghwa Telecom said communications between Taiwan and Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong were offline, as well as communication to China, which were all routed through Hong Kong.
The quake hit just offshore from the town of Hengchun, came on the second anniversary of a tsunami that took more than 200,000 lives in southern Asia. Two people were killed when their home collapsed, and a total of 42 people were reported injured in southern Taiwan.
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