Internet failure hits two continents

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — High-technology services across large tracts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa were crippled Thursday following a widespread Internet failure which brought many businesses to a standstill and left others struggling to cope.

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Hi-tech Dubai has been hit hard by an Internet outage apparently caused by a cut undersea cable.

Industry experts are blaming damage to two undersea cables but it is not known what caused the damage.

Reports say that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain Pakistan and India, are all experiencing severe problems.

Nations that have been spared the chaos include Israel — whose traffic uses a different route — and Lebanon and Iraq. Many Middle East governments have backup satellite systems in case of cable failure.

Stephan Beckert, an analyst with TeleGeography, a research company that consults on global Internet issues, said the damaged cables collectively account for the majority of international communications between Europe and the Middle East.

Du, a state-owned Dubai telecom provider, attributed the outage to an undersea cable cut between Alexandria, Egypt and Palermo, Italy, according to an internal memo obtained by CNN.

In India, Spectranet and Telecomasia.net, two large Internet service providers. Reliance were experiencing problems but a third major Indian Internet provider, said it was not affected.

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