ad info

TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards


about Asia Buzz  |  more Asia Buzz

Asia Buzz: Traffic Jam
A crash on the information superhighway sends telcos scrambling

November 21, 2000
Web posted at 2:00 p.m. Hong Kong time, 1:00 a.m. EDT

Ticked off at Asia Buzz? Turned on? Talk back to TIME
Had a bit of trouble getting online over the past 24 hours? Customer service at your Internet service provider clueless as usual? Well stop yelling at them. For once, it's not their fault.

The problem facing millions of frustrated Netheads in Asia and Australia lies on the seabed, about 100 kilometers off Singapore. That's where an undersea telecommunications cable that links Australia, Asia and Europe was ruptured at midnight Monday, causing chaos with Net connections around the region.


Asia Buzz: The Week That Wasn't
A stunned world awaits the U.S. election result
- Monday, November 20, 2000

Culture on Demand: Trust, Lies and Audiotape
The truth is out there. And a new device will help you find it
- Friday, November 17, 2000

Letter from Japan: Pure Greed
With Prime Minister Mori set to be dumped, will the LDP relinquish control of the nation? I wish!
- Friday, November 17, 2000

Asia Buzz: Cat and Mouse
Shanghainese Web addicts take on the authorities
- Thursday, November 16, 2000

Asia Buzz: Election Special, Part 55
It could only happen in America
- Monday, November 13, 2000

The story behind today's news from the editors of Asiaweek

The $1 billion, 39,000 kilometer-long SEA-ME-WE 3 cable -- owned by a consortium of 92 international telecommunications operators -- is the longest such cable in the world and has been in operation for about a year. The cable has 39 landing points in 33 countries, from western Europe, through Asia and onto Australia and New Zealand.

The scale of potential disruption is enormous and Net providers in Sydney have already been profusely apologizing for major Internet traffic jams and shutdowns. Interestingly, the hardest hit so far has Telstra, Australia's biggest Internet provider and the telco that has joined with Richard Li to revolutionize Asia's online experience. It relies on this cable for almost two-thirds of its online access. Given that so much of the Asian web is hosted abroad and comes to us via cables such as this, the drama is proving a big headache.

No one is quite sure what has caused the interruption and subsequent gridlock on the information superhighway. Some reports suggest it might be something as innocent as a ship's anchor. This seems feasible as the cable largely tracks the shortest route between countries, which is also the route that ships track, particularly the waters around Singapore where tankers transit between the big trading centers of Japan, China and Europe.

If you recall, this is the cable that was designed to speed up cross-border connections -- the famous "fat pipe" that is supposed to usher in the broadband future that will change our lives. That's how the PR pitch goes, which is all well and good as long as the cable is operating and is being constantly upgraded.

This breakdown, however, shows how vulnerable the Internet Economy can be, especially if it's proved a ship's anchor was responsible. And it's not just about being unable to access your e-mails for 24 hours. Businesses suffer. Expect lawsuits to follow if the problem isn't rectified within a few days.

Ticked off at Asia Buzz? Turned on? Talk back to TIME
Write to TIME at
Search for recent Asia Buzz

TIME Asia home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN


Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.