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.
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 & Cablereports 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.