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Tsunami Telecom Recovery Continues

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
12/29/2004
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Telecom services across South Asia are gradually being restored after the devastating tsunami that hit the region last weekend. With tens of thousands dead and more than a million homeless, subsea communications links will be vital as aid agencies the world over continue the work of assessing the damage and providing assistance.

The major undersea cables, operated by consortiums of telecom providers, survived largely unscathed -- Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL) (NYSE: VSL) says the Tata Indicom-Chennai-Singapore cable, SEA-ME-WE-2 and SEA-ME-WE-3, and the Western Africa Submarine Cable (WASC) were not affected; neither was Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd.'s 3,200 kilometer cable connecting Chennai, India, with Singapore.

The Press Trust of India reported Tuesday that the Malaysian leg of the South-Africa-Far-East (SAFE) submarine cable had been disrupted and traffic was being rerouted via VSNL’s redundancy cables. There was no word on when the cable could be restored, as repairs have to be made by the Malaysian landing operator. The SAT-3/WASC cable links Europe with West Africa and SAFE continues the connection on to India and Malaysia. The Indian link remains operational.

The map below shows the major undersea cables in Asia, with the SAFE cable indicated in red. A larger version of the map is here.



The breakdown of local telecom services around the epicenter (shown on the map) is hampering relief efforts, especially in remote areas such as the Nicobar Islands and the Aceh province of Indonesia -- the areas hardest hit by the tsunami.

State-run Indian operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) said today that it had restored communications in the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala, but more than a third of the telecom exchanges on Car Nicobar are still down, according to Reuters. A spokesman added that damage to the roads made it difficult to reach many of the exchanges.

In Sri Lanka, flooding has destroyed one of Sri Lanka Telecom's towers and damaged its exchanges, leaving 10,000 lines out of service, the company said in a statement on its Website. Its other exchanges were being restored, but individual lines remained partially affected.

Providers are airlifting terminals for use as public telephones and setting up free call stations to aid rescue operations. In areas that were not directly damaged, operators said networks were up and running, but were experiencing congestion and dropping calls as people sought to connect with friends and relatives.

In Australia, Telstra Corp. is offering free calls to the tsunami-struck regions, free mobile calls from those areas, and a donation of $100,000 to Australian agencies aiding the relief effort (see Telstra Aids South Asia).

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

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chook0
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chook0,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:31:18 AM
re: Tsunami Telecom Recovery Continues
There are already very good facilities for monitoring seismic activity.

The Earthquake that caused the tsunami was detected as it happened. What was required was a system for letting the people know that there were Tsunamis coming.

-- Chook
dwdm2
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dwdm2,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:31:17 AM
re: Tsunami Telecom Recovery Continues
"There are already very good facilities for monitoring seismic activity."

Like what? Care to ellaborate? Thanks.
chook0
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chook0,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:31:16 AM
re: Tsunami Telecom Recovery Continues
The region (as with the whole world) is dotted with seismic recording/monitoring stations.

You can see it in almost real time at:

http://www.iris.edu/seismon/

-- Chook
dwdm2
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dwdm2,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:31:01 AM
re: Tsunami Telecom Recovery Continues
"The region (as with the whole world) is dotted with seismic recording/monitoring stations."

I am not sure how these stations are connected and monitored, but most likely they are not using fiberoptic. If all those stations are monitored individually, or in a group by whatever means in use (i.e., copper or wireless), deployment of fiber would allow to organize the stations lot better than they are today. IMO.
dwdm2
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dwdm2,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 12:57:37 AM
re: Tsunami Telecom Recovery Continues
Can the vast teleco networks that are deployed under ocean around the globe can perform an additional task of monitoring and possibly predicting natural calamities like earthquakes and seismic activities? The cables are already there under the ocean running from coast to coasts... why not add suitable sensors at strategic points to monitor siesmic activities? Is such a scheme feasible?
standardsarefun
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standardsarefun,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 12:57:36 AM
re: Tsunami Telecom Recovery Continues
Interesting idea but am not sure if the repeater locations (normally a fixed spacing running down the cable) are neccessarily in the right places on the sea bed. I think its probable that sesmic detectors should be placed on rock while cables are often buried under sand and so the route selected to maximise sandy sea bottoms.

Sounds like a interesting new Question in ITU SG15...
dwdm2
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dwdm2,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 12:57:35 AM
re: Tsunami Telecom Recovery Continues
"Interesting idea but am not sure if the repeater locations (normally a fixed spacing running down the cable) are neccessarily in the right places on the sea bed."

standardsarefun, thanks. Can you think of some way to make it work technologically? HOw does it relate to SG.15?
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