By H. AMIR KHALID
KUALA LUMPUR: No Gmail, no Yahoo!, no blogs.
Malaysian Internet users woke up yesterday morning to a crawl on the so-called information superhighway that would have rivalled KL’s infamous traffic jams.
Local access to Internet services and websites hosted overseas came to a practical standstill after international links were disrupted by the earthquake that struck southern Taiwan on Tuesday night.
The earthquake damaged submarine cables that form part of the region-wide Asia Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN 2), disrupting voice and Internet communications over much of Asia.
APCN 2 is a 19,000km-long fibre-optic cable network linking Japan, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, the United States, Europe and Australia.
The network has been up since October 2002 and is jointly operated by 26 Asian telecommunications carriers, including TM Bhd.
The damaged links are between Shantou (China) and Tanshui (Taiwan), and, Lantau (Hong Kong) and Chongming (China).
Internet service provider (ISP) Jaring said the disruption started at 3.45am yesterday, and warned users to expect congestion to and from overseas websites during peak hours.
TM Net said in a statement the disruption caused outages to several of its international transit and peering links.
The ISP said Malaysian Internet users would experience “some delay” in accessing content and websites hosted overseas, especially in the United States, Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Europe.
Action is being taken to reduce traffic congestion by diverting traffic through backup links, it added.
TM Net made no estimate of how long it would take to restore normal access but wire reports, quoting other service providers in the region, said repairs to the damaged cables could take several weeks.
ISPs in several Asian countries also reported slow Internet traffic. Some regional telephony services have also been affected.
Most of the affected carriers said they were arranging al-ternative routes for their data, Internet and voice-call traffic.
Meanwhile, TM Net customers can call its Customer Interaction Centre at 1-300-88-9515 anytime, or 1-300-88-1515 between 8am and midnight, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are an estimated 11 million Internet users in the country.