Robot submarine repairing broken internet

22nd Dec 2008 | 08:41

Robot submarine repairing broken internet

Emergency work on undersea cable by France Telecom's "Hector"

French crews are rapidly trying to repair undersea cables to stop the Middle East and India experiencing potential major internet blackouts, as reported over the weekend.

A robot submarine (called "Hector") is being used to locate the broken cables to bring them to the surface of the Mediterranean to be reconnected.

It is not yet confirmed what caused the cables to snap, though the breakage is most likely to be connected to an errant ship's anchor or earth tremors deep in the Med between Sicily and Tunisia. Most probably by an anchor, according to experts on the scene.

TechRadar will of course be bringing you regular updates on this story as it breaks.

Immense knock-on effects

Wide areas across the Middle East remain without any internet connections, with experts from France Telecom Marine rather worryingly claiming that the fault may take days to repair – which could have immense knock-on effects on local economies affected.

France Telecom Marine spokesman Louis-Michel Aymard told the Associated Press: "We have to fix the cable fibre by fibre, and it's a very huge cable."

France Telecom has put the ETA on the repair of cable SEA-ME-WE4 by 25 December and SEA-ME-WE3 by the end of the year.

A third line severed in the same incident, FLAG, is not operated by the same consortium and is set to be repaired by another ship.

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