Lebanon Businessnews News

Internet restored through backup from Cyprus
Ogero: Repairs on IMEWE to take ten days, another redundant line negotiated with Egypt
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Internet connection has been restored through a backup route sourced from Cyprus, telecoms operator Ogero said.

“Ogero’s technical team was able to operate a redundant route (to get Internet) from Cyprus through the three submarine cables, Alexandros, Cadmos, and Minerva,” the company said. The semi-public telecom operator said it is also working to install another temporary redundant route connected to Egypt.

Internet connection was lost on Wednesday due to a failure in the fiber-optics submarine cable, IMEWE. The blackout resulted from a breakage in the cable 50 kilometers off the coast of Alexandria. The breakage has affected eight countries. According to Ogero work to repair the cable will take up to ten days.

The Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT) yesterday said it was working to secure a connection from Cyprus until the cable is repaired. The Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnaoui, flew to Cyprus this morning to follow up on the preparations.

"Cyprus has agreed to provide Lebanon with bandwidth for a few days," said Firas Abi Nassif, advisor to the ministry. “Cyprus was generous enough to allocate part of its own capacity for us.” The connection will be made through already existing infrastructure.
The temporary connection is set to provide a capacity of 6Gbps. IMEWE, the country's sole bandwidth supplier, provides a broadband capacity of up to 30 Gbps.

IMEWE runs from India, through the GCC, to Egypt. Frequent blackouts have occurred since the cable was first installed in Lebanon one year ago. The cable was built through a regional consortium. Lebanon owns 12 percent of it.

A back-up cable is essential to avoid a total network failure in such cases. “On the longer run, the plan is to obtain permanent capacity from Cyprus through the CADMOS cable,” said Abi Nassif. The plan entails replacing the existing cable link with Cyprus with a new one. “The cable will provide a redundant route, which should protect the country from such blackouts,” he said.
The project is set to be launched within the next few months and will cost around $14 million. "Lebanon will pay $7 million out of the total,” Abi Nassif said.

Later stages of the plan involve connecting the country to Europe, via Cyprus, using a new submarine cable dubbed EUROPA. This link, which will still need Cabinet’s approval, will cost around $20 million. “This project will not be launched before another two years,” Abi Nassif said.

Reported by Hanadi Chami
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Date Posted: Jul 06, 2012