Friday, December 29, 2006

Hong Kong: The connection has timed out

After Tuesday's undersea earthquake off southern Taiwan, IDD phone services were very quickly re-established. Email, too. But for Internet users in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and a little island in the South China Sea, accessing web sites hosted on Ye Olde Internet outside of one's respective home base has usually achieved the following:
The connection has timed out
Locally, PCCW and Hutchison Global Communications, the two largest telecom companies herabouts, have focused firstly on their business dedicated-line users. No surprise there. But even for residential users, things are marginally better today than they were yesterday: one percent is now five percent successful connections.

Six of the seven undersea data cables that serve Hong Kong are kaput. Four mainland China undersea cables are also kaput. It takes till Tuesday for the cable ships from Singapore and somewhere else to reach the damage zone, before they can even begin the task of repairing one cable and then another.

Even with IDD running and email tickety-boo, Mister Bijou wonders how this communication breakdown will impact on the just-in-time manufacturing output of the Pearl River Delta. Hey! Perhaps they'll eventually have to shut up shop and we will be graced with a New Year that debuts smog-free.

Anyway, all of the above is mindful that Tuesday's Taiwan earthquake occurred on the second anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami. That whatever inconvenience there is hereabouts, is nothing compared to what the people caught up in that 2004 tsunami suffered.

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