[UPDATE – 02/12/08 – The Complete Guide to the 2008 Internet Outage has been finished. It contains the most up to date information including detailed images and explanations to help unravel this cable mess. Please check it out here]
[UPDATE – please be sure to check out part two of this post: Submarine Cables, Subsidiaries and Subversion, where you can find out information on who might stand to gain from these outages.]
Alright. Grab your foil hats if you must, but there’s some things that need to be said here.
While working hard at my job today I was stunned after I read engadget’s report that another large submarine internet cable had been severed. This comes after the news that other cables had been severed reducing the internet, phone, and television capabilities of many countries to nil.
As of this writing, there are still reports that Iran is without internet connectivity according to InternetTrafficReport.com. EDIT Many readers have written in to inform me that Iran is, in fact, not entirely offline and that InternetTrafficReport.com is a terrible source. However, there are still millions of people without service. Thanks for keeping me in line.
It seems, that something is not quite right here. Just when I am starting to doubt my gut instinct, the Khaleej Times reports that it is in fact 5 submarine cables that have been damaged:
“Quoting TeleGeography and describing the effect the cuts had on the Internet world, Mahesh Jaishanker, executive director, Business Development and Marketing, du, said, “The submarine cable cuts in FLAG Europe-Asia cable 8.3km away from Alexandria, Egypt and SeaMeWe-4 affected at least 60 million users in India, 12 million in Pakistan, six million in Egypt and 4.7 million in Saudi Arabia.””
According to their reports, there was another cable severed that went unreported. So, here’s the list that they had of the 5 different cables:
“These are SeaMeWe-4 (South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-4) near Penang, Malaysia, the FLAG Europe-Asia near Alexandria, FLAG near the Dubai coast, FALCON near Bandar Abbas in Iran and SeaMeWe-4, also near Alexandria.”
As I said: 3 was quite a few. 4 is pushing it. 5 starts to make you wonder.
In case you aren’t familiar with that part of the world, here’s a map that I made which shows the approximate locations of the “cuts” in the underwater cables: [UPDATE: I have completed the Google Maps version which includes all the new damages and links to the sources:]
We’re supposed to believe that these were most likely caused by an anchor from a ship fighting a storm. This author finds it hard to believe that this anchor was drug behind a boat from Egypt to Malaysia.
So everyone is scrambling to try and figure out why this would happen. Here’s some of the possible reasons that I have found while looking around the internet:
- U.S. Government
- Israeli Government
- Underwater Monsters
- The Cloverfield Monster
- Rudy Giuliani
However, this author actually dug a bit deeper and found a trail that leads from the owners of most of these internet cables all the way back to some very, very large companies in the U.S. and in the U.K. Which companies you ask? Who is behind this?