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There's no particular reason that this kind of thing can't happen here in the US. In general, our internet is built on the least-cost rather than the most-reliable principle. This was rather presciently covered in Computerworld: The Internet Is Down -- Now What? (01/21/2008)


Internet failure hits two continents


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) -- High-technology services across large tracts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa were crippled Thursday following a widespread Internet failure which brought many businesses to a standstill and left others struggling to cope.

Industry experts are blaming damage to two undersea cables but it is not known what caused the damage.

Reports say that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain Pakistan and India, are all experiencing severe problems.

Nations that have been spared the chaos include Israel -- whose traffic uses a different route -- and Lebanon and Iraq. Many Middle East governments have backup satellite systems in case of cable failure.

Stephan Beckert, an analyst with TeleGeography, a research company that consults on global Internet issues, said the damaged cables collectively account for the majority of international communications between Europe and the Middle East.

Du, a state-owned Dubai telecom provider, attributed the outage to an undersea cable cut between Alexandria, Egypt and Palermo, Italy, according to an internal memo obtained by CNN.
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The head of an Egyptian Internet service provider called the situation a "wake-up call" for the region, which he said is too dependent on underground lines and does not have a strong enough back-up system. Mohammed Amir, head of Quantum, an ISP in Cairo, described the situation as "a major problem," but expressed hope that the worst of it is over.
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The outage led to a rapid collapse of a wide range of public services in a country which proudly promotes itself as technological pioneer.
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The outage heavily crippled Dubai's business section, which is heavily reliant on electronic means for billions of dollars' worth of transactions daily.
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Full Story

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Craig Wiseman January 31st, 2008 01:05:00 PM

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