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Quake Rattles Japan Telecom

Although landline and mobile services were out or just hanging on in parts of Japan following Friday's biggest recorded earthquake and the devastating tsunami that followed, the undersea cables that help to keep the country connected appear to have held up.

Here's a roundup of telecom-related news following the earthquake.

  • In addition to rendering many mobile phones useless in Tokyo, the earthquake also "severely disrupted landline service" in the city, the AP reports, quoting an NTT spokeswoman as saying that up to 90 percent of calls were being restricted to prevent telecom gear from being overloaded as it continues to assess the damage to towers and cables. Disruption to the mobile system also caused people to swamp normally vacant public phone booths, the AP added.

  • The damage to undersea telecommunications cables linked to Japan appear to be limited following Friday's earthquake, reports PC World. Telegeography says there are 20 trans-Pacific and intra-Asia cable systems that reach Japan.

    Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. (NYSE: CHT) told MarketWatch that its APCN2 cable, which links China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, was damaged but service was disrupted only temporarily.

  • IHS iSuppli issued a news flash about the potential impact the Japan earthquake could have on global electronics production.

    Among the stats, the firm estimates that Japan accounted for 13.9 percent of all global electronic equipment factory revenue in 2010, a figure that includes the making of computers, CE devices and communications gear, and one fifth of global semiconductor production.

    IHS iSuppli also believes that the "major impact" on Japan's semiconductor production likely won't come from direct damage to production facilities, but from disruption to the supply chain. "This is likely to cause some disruption in semiconductor supplies from Japan during the next two weeks," the firm said.

  • Several Japanese carriers, including Softbank Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, and KDDI are operating disaster messaging services.

  • Some cable subs in Japan may have received a warning about the earthquake thanks to a subscription service the nation's largest MSO there offers. Jupiter Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (J:COM) sells an Earthquake Alert Service in conjunction with the Japan Meteorological Agency. It has a dedicated terminal system that uses flashing lights and sounds to alert customers of an earthquake when they are sleeping or the TV and radio are switched off.



  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC)'s Oceanic division in Hawaii has been spared so far after tsunami waves swamped beaches there but didn't cause major damage. An MSO spokesman reports that TWC's employees there are safe and no outages or plant damages have been reported.

    He also confirmed that the MSO has received word that company EVP of Advanced Engineering and Technology Mike Hayashi, who was in Japan when the tsunami hit, is also all right.

    TWC, meanwhile, announced it is offering its in-language international premium channel, TV Japan, for free to all digital-TV subs through next Thursday.



  • Broadcasting & Cable reports that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is getting involved by reaching out to Japanese regulatory officials to offer any assistance it can. The FCC, some might recall, took a proactive role during the Haiti earthquake, offering, among other things, technical assistance on emergency communications.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • fakharu 12/5/2012 | 5:10:35 PM
    re: Quake Rattles Japan Telecom

    This again brings up the topic of having the communication infrastructure immune to most of the catastrophic events. I won't mind suggesting that we should actually focus on developing satellite based( redundant) communication systems which provide more reliability that land based systems.

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:10:35 PM
    re: Quake Rattles Japan Telecom

    Thanks, I think AT&T and Cablevision are in the mix, too, but trying to confirm.


    Updated: AT&T confirms it here.  Cablevision's Jim Maiella  tweets that they'll be offering it free to digital subs through 3/17.


     

    cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 5:10:35 PM
    re: Quake Rattles Japan Telecom

    Verizon is also offering Japan TV for free for the next week on FiOS TV

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:10:35 PM
    re: Quake Rattles Japan Telecom

    A few other examples  have come up since filing the story:

    <ul>
    <li>TW Cable is proviing free calls to Japan through April 15 for its residential and biz-class digital phone customers </li>
    <li>Cox tweeted that it's also providing immediate access to two live feeds from Japan for subs in San Diego, Vegas, Northern VA&nbsp;&amp; Orange County</li>
    <li>Comcast is also&nbsp;unscrambling its feed to the in-language Japanese channel.</li>
    </ul>
    digits 12/5/2012 | 5:10:34 PM
    re: Quake Rattles Japan Telecom

    Hi Drew


    Thanks for the post and your insights, and good to see you have come through the experience apparently unscathed.


    Again, another example of how social media can be used to meaningfull effect.


    Ray&nbsp;

    drewshafer09 12/5/2012 | 5:10:34 PM
    re: Quake Rattles Japan Telecom

    I was in Tokyo during the event and am a Softbank customer (iPhone).&nbsp; Mobile voice service immediately stopped and didn't restart until about 8 or 9pm due mostly to severe network congestion.&nbsp; SMS and MMS were drastically inconsistent (sometimes a few minutes delay, sometimes a few hours).&nbsp; Most communication for several hours after the event was done by online services like&nbsp;facebook, twitter, and skype from both fixed line and mobile devices.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; All services were active by midnight on Friday.



    Does anyone know if Facebook is monitoring global traffic to allocate resources to high demand areas?&nbsp; For them to be able to continue uninterrupted service during this event was quite impressive...


    &nbsp;

    Duh! 12/5/2012 | 5:10:34 PM
    re: Quake Rattles Japan Telecom

    You mean, like Iridium and Globalstar?

    fakharu 12/5/2012 | 5:10:34 PM
    re: Quake Rattles Japan Telecom

    Solar power for "power" and redundancy for "destroyed". Besides changes of simultaneous heavenly and earthly catastrophes should be less.

    paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:10:34 PM
    re: Quake Rattles Japan Telecom

    &nbsp;


    The receivers would still need power and the sattelites could be destroyed.


    &nbsp;


    seven


    &nbsp;

    jdbower 12/5/2012 | 5:10:33 PM
    re: Quake Rattles Japan Telecom

    "Does anyone know if Facebook is monitoring global traffic to allocate resources to high demand areas?&nbsp; For them to be able to continue uninterrupted service during this event was quite impressive..."


    I don't have anything Facebook-specific, but some Facebook services are delivered over Akamai who does monitor the state of the Internet and has some Internet traffic visualizations:


    &nbsp;


    http://www.akamai.com/html/technology/visualizing_akamai.html

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