Damage to an undersea cable linking Taiwan to the Internet left five million Internet users in Taiwan without access to the Net yesterday, able only to access Web sites in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
In what may be Taiwan's largest Internet service disruption ever, a cable damaged near China's Chongmingdao (崇明島) island, off the coast near Shanghai (上海), cut direct Internet service between China and the US at around 8am yesterday. Net users were unable to access US-based e-mail, usenet and Web servers for most of the day.
At 9pm last night, Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信) officials claimed to have 92 percent of Taiwan-US Internet traffic restored through a back-up Taiwan-Japan undersea cable.
"We got the system back online by temporarily rerouting [it thorough a series of connections] between Taiwan and Japan," said Chunghwa manager Chen Cheng-lu (
As for the main China-US link, another Chunghwa official said repairs may take some time.
"We're still trying to determine exactly what happened to the cable" and the connection may take up to two weeks to repair, said Teng Chin-shan (
Officials in China said the repair efforts could take up to three weeks.
Chunghwa authorities speculate that a fishing boat trawling near the island may have severed the undersea cable, but are waiting for the final word from Chinese officials on Chongmingdao.
Put into service in January last year, the damaged China-US cable is part of a pan-Asian network built by 10 companies and 15 telecommunications firms. The cable connects Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Malaysia with the US. So far, the severed cable's impact on other member countries of the consortium is unknown.
The severed undersea cable is made of a bundle of fiber-optic strands sheathed in plastic and steel-armored to prevent accidental damage.
Taiwan's backup connection -- an older fiber-optic cable submerged between Taiwan and Japan, should be able to restore 100 percent Internet access to users here soon, according to Teng.
Although a simple flick of a switch on the Japan side is enough to open up the Internet gateway, Japanese authorities must be consulted and the "proper paper work must be filed," Teng explained.
Chunghwa is already feeling the economic impact from the Internet stoppage. Though final figures have yet to be tallied, Chunghwa may end up paying NT$200 million (US$6 million) in compensation to cable licensees.
Other businesses most likely to be hit by the Net outage are banking and securities firms and a large number of contract manufacturers in Taiwan who will be unable to receive design and specification changes usually sent via the Internet from overseas.
Because the damaged cable also affects China's 20 million Web surfers, Taiwan and its cross-strait nemesis have found themselves in the unfamiliar position of having to work together to solve a common problem.
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly