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Internet service fluctuation, Undersea cable damaged

Undersea cable faults hit internet service
Karachi, Dec 20: Internet service and call centre operations in the country suffered fluctuation on Friday night after at least two of the four undersea optic-fibre communications cables were damaged, officials said.

They said initially a fault was reported in the Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-3 (SEA-ME-WE-3) optic-fibre link near Alexandria (Egypt). It was fixed within a 'few hours'.

"Later, we were informed that the cable of our second undersea fibre link called SEA-ME-WE-4 had been damaged," said Sikandar Naqi, Senior Executive Vice President, Corporate Development and Special Projects, of Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL), the country's only internet backbone provider.

"The damaged cable is 1,800 nautical miles away from our seashore and an exact timeframe cannot be given for its repair."

However, he said the country had four links from different routes, the PTCL was relying on undersea fibre cable from Singapore and there was no major complaint of service disruption.

The SEA-ME-WE-3 link has suffered second disruption in less than three months. In September, it developed a fault near the same area of Alexandria.

In 2005, severe damage to the country's only link had caused an internet blackout for a week.

Officials of PTCL argued that now alternative solutions to the problem were available and there was no ground to get concerned."We have the capacity to cater for the overall demand of bandwidth in the country from any link," said Mr Naqi. "Secondly, we don't see the problem staying for long. The situation will become normal within the shortest possible time."

However, members of the industry relying mainly on internet service complained that the problem was more serious than it was in September because a majority of the call centres were not getting the required level of bandwidth.

"Call centres and software houses are facing serious problems," said Wahajus Sairaj, Convenor of the ISPs Association of Pakistan (ISPAK).

"The alternative provided by the PTCL has not met satisfactorily the needs of the corporate users."

Agencies add: Internet service between Europe and the Middle East was disrupted after three cables linking Egypt and Italy failed in the Mediterranean Sea, according to a French company which manages the cables.

The situation may not improve before Christmas and communications may not return to normal until Dec 31, a spokesman for Reliance GlobalCom said. "We know three cables have been cut. We still don't why or where. They cover all the Middle East and India and other countries.

"We have no more information. A ship has been sent to locate the place where the cables were cut," the spokesman told reporters.

Egypt's state news agency MENA reported that the cuts happened off the coast of Sicily at 0800 GMT.

Reliance GlobalCom directed a submarine cable repair company to head to the region to fix the cables. Dawn

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S&T ministry received Rs535m during three years
Islamabad: The Ministry of Science and Technology received foreign funds worth Rs535 million for the execution of some research-related projects during the last three years.

This was stated in the National Assembly in a written reply to a question on Friday.

To a question raised by MNA Yasmeen Rehman, it was told that the Pakistan Science Foundation and Pakistan Museum of Natural History, a subsidiary of the ministry, received Rs492 million in December 2005 for research projects in the field of natural science applicable to agriculture for enhancement of crop production and food security.

The Pakistan Museum of Natural History received $20,000 in 2006 for global biodiversity information facility, including training of the museum team and organising national workshop on sharing biodiversity data.

The amount was granted by US government under an agreement between the Economic Affairs Division and Commodity Credit Corporation of USA.

The Pakistan National Accreditation Council received Rs14.8 million from the NORAD, Norway for capacity building and good governance.

The National Physical and Standards Laboratory of Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research received funds for installation of environment condition system.

Earlier, Minister for Labour and Manpower Khurshid Shah in replying to a question told the NA that the officials of the cabinet division tried to conceal the names of the people to whom the LPG quota was allotted.

He said such actions were tantamount to misguide the house, requesting the chair to defer the question to seek comprehensive reply. App

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