It’s hard to imagine that an relatively tame earthquake in term of casualty in Taiwan can cause major disruption to Internet and telecommunications services in countries around Asia Pacific. The main quake, at magnitude 6.7 for Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau measurement and at magnitude 7.1 if measured by the US Geological Survey, struck off Taiwan’s southern coast at 8:26 PM local time on Tuesday, killing two people. The disruption has caused slowing and crawling Internet surfing traffic, with intermittent access downtime, and international circuit congestion.
Reuters (dead link), at least 6 fiber-optic submarine cable systems out of Taiwan in Asia that connects between East Asia region and Southeast Asia region had been cut and knocked out by the quakes. The undersea cables outages affect not only Taiwan itself, but the unable to surf Internet and VoIP down problem has also been experience across Asia Pacific in countries such as Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Indonesia and Philippines, where Internet users unable to access to websites located in United States (US) and unable to connect to login to instant messengers such as Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger, and voice call facing all circuits is busy problem.
Various fixed-line, Internet and broadband service providers (ISPs) are working round the clock for traffic diversion, re-routing traffic and restoration works, which may takes 2 to 3 weeks, according to Bloomberg. However, it’s still weird and hard to understand why major telecommunications traffic has been dependent on cables around Taiwan, an earthquake prone area, and without any fall back or parallel redundancy links that can be used in short notice during emergency.