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Earthquake exposes worldwide telecommunications vulnerabilities

Wednesday's earthquake and aftershocks jolted Asia for hours but the telecommunication disruptions may reverberate ...


December 28, 2006  


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Wednesday’s earthquake and aftershocks jolted Asia for hours but the telecommunication disruptions may reverberate for weeks. When transpacific fiber optic cables were damaged, Internet and phone call volume plummeted by half and Web browsing slowed to a crawl.

According to the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC), the disaster highlights the vulnerability of international telecommunications in a global economy that has grown dependent on real-time communications.

It also raises the stakes for US$500 million in planned investments in new transpacific undersea cables.

“Natural disasters can expose weaknesses in global communications,” said Ken Zita, who served as a telecommunications advisor to the U.S. Government following the Asian tsunami. Zita, conference chairman of PTC’07: Beyond Telecom, will host telecommunications executives from over 60 countries at PTC’07 next month where emergency communications and disaster management will be highlighted.

“Despite the latest network management technologies, traffic concentration remain susceptible to strong natural hazards.”

David Lassner, President and Chairman of the Board of Governors for PTC and CIO at the University of Hawaii, added that global telecommunications cannot be underestimated.

“Everything from billions of dollars in international trade to personal communication with family is silently carried by our industry When we go dead, the world goes dead.”