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Internet down to 60% of its Typical Level, Local ISP's under Pressure: Eathrquake Disrupts Internet in Jordan

The devastating earthquake in Algeria has caused damage to sub-sea fiber optic cables in the Mediterranean Sea, which connect many countries in the region, including Jordan, to the Internet. The cables affected, were Flag, SMW2, SMW3 and Columbus2. Jordan is connected through FLAG.

In a statement on this matter, Jean-Marie Garcia, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Jordan Telecom, issued a statement saying 'due to the earthquake which hit Algeria, JT lost its main Internet connection (155 Mbps) with its providers."

He went on to say that the Internet is still up in Jordan due to an alternative route through Emirates Internet, which provides a 45 Megabit capacity.

Local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have had a difficult week dealing with the repercussions of this emergency re-routing, due to the initial cut-off of services, then followed by smaller capacity resulting in slower service which is causing customer complaints.

"At 12:12 am, on May 22, 2003, the Internet went down in Jordan. The disconnection lasted for 9 hours, until the backup connection was activated," explained Muhannad Hasan, Commercial Manager at LinkDOTNet.

"This has affected us and many other countries in the region, and the nature of the backup link means that it will be slower," he added.

"Jordan is depending on a 45 Megabit per second backup connection which cannot compensate for the loss of the 90 Megabits that we used to get through the FLAG cable," commented Mr. Rami Suliman, Technical Director at Batelco Jordan.

"Currently, our connection is running at 60 to 70% percent of its usual speed," he added. "The speed is going up and down all the time," said Sami Smeirat, Deputy General Manager of Cyberia.

The lack of a sufficient back up service, to fully compensate, is the point that all ISPs would like Jordan Telecom to resolve in the future.

"There is a need for a full backup solution, that would deliver complete, uninterrupted service should such an emergency occur in the future," said Mr. Suliman of Batelco.

Also commenting on this matter, Mr. Smeirat of Cyberia said that "This situation highlights the importance of having an SLA (Service-Level Agreement) with Jordan Telecom by which we, the ISPs, would be guaranteed a minimum level of connection bandwidth. Then, Jordan Telecom in turn would need to reach agreements with global providers who can provide full capacity backup to ensure that they deliver on their promise to us.".

Catering to customer's inquiries and complaints about this problem is a mounting pressure on ISPs.

"Generally, customers understand the situation," says Smeirat. "Yet, an announcement was made by Jordan Telecom in the local newspaper, on the second day after the earthquake, stating that everything is back to normal but it's not. This has created some pressure on ISPs to explain to their customers that, as of yet, the problem is unsolved," he added.

"We have been informed that, within 72 hours of Wednesday 28 May, capacity will be added, also through the UAE, which will bring us back to full capacity," concluded Sami Smeirat of Cyberia.

"We sent an announcement to our customers by email, explaining what happened," said Rami Suliman of Batelco Jordan. "We had received assurances that the problem will be solved within 48 to 72 hours," he added.

"We are doing all we can to provide the best possible internet service to our customers, but we are still waiting for Jordan Telecom to fully compensate the capacity needed," concluded Muhannad Hasan of LinkDOTNet.

Amman 10-06-2003
Zeid Nasser
Int@j



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