Fault in international cable system leaves Pakistan with crippled internet


A fault occurred near Jeddah, Saud Arabia, in one of the international submarine cable systems IMEWE providing internet bandwidth to Pakistan, early morning on Saturday. Due to this, customers started experiencing slow internet browsing. Another international cable system SEA-ME-WE 4 is already under repair by the international consortium.

PTCL Chief Business Development Officer Sikandar Naqi said that the international consortium managing the submarine cable system has already started working to resolve the situation as early as possible. In order to minimize the service impact, PTCL has undertaken necessary measures to arrange additional/alternate bandwidth through its other cable systems and international cable business partners.

It must be mentioned that IMEWE submarine cable carries significant amount of Pakistani bandwidth and its down-time is going to hit local ISPs with very serious challenges. While SEAMEWE 4 and TW1 submarine cables were already offline — since last month — due to faults of similar nature. They are still being repaired.

With today’s fault in IMEWE, Pakistan’s majority of back-haul bandwidth is currently unavailable and all sorts of internet in the country is currently operating under severe capacity.

This means that entire Pakistan is currently relying on SEMEWE 3, SEAMEWE 5 and AAE1 submarine cables, out of which SEAMEWE3 operates with very limited capacity.

Not to mention, remaining two submarine cables (SEAMEWE5 and AAE1) went into operations very recently; and Pakistan could very well go into dark, if both of these cables were not operational at this point in time.

All major ISPs, including PTCL have issued an advisory to their customers about degraded internet speeds. No ETA has been communicated on the resolution of the faults as of yet.

This is a wake-up call for Ministry of IT and Telecom and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, as the imagination of entire Pakistan going offline is just inches away.


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