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WorldCom Is The Unlikely Saviour After the Taiwan Earthquake

WorldCom Is The Unlikely Saviour After the Taiwan Earthquake

Over the holidays a massive earthquake leveled telecommunications in much of south east asia, affecting Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Taiwan and other areas. J.Angelo, one of our own Blog Herald-ers catalogued his own experiences already. It seems like six out of the seven pipes which connect asia to North America were disrupted.

There were fears that such a structural calamity might cripple telecommunications for weeks, leaving individuals, as well as businesses large and small in the Internet stone age. Well, it seems many of these concerns were premature, as many ordinary individuals are now finding their own high speed connections hale, healthy, and back up to normal speed.

For example, the International Herald Tribune reports:

Within a day or two of the earthquake international telecommunications carriers and regulators from Singapore to Seoul reported that voice traffic was almost back to normal. Internet users in most of the region were also quickly able to regain access to simple functions, like sending and receiving e- mail, even if international connections to Web sites were slow or it proved near impossible to download big files. How badly Internet users were affected often came down to luck: an issue of what telecommunications carrier they used and where their server was located.

The how is this possible?

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It turns out that in spite of the widespread damage done to these massive cables, there was enough redundancy in the system already built in; much of this was triggered by the pre-dot com boom, by outfits such as WorldCom and Global Crossing, as much of their infrastructure was predicated on faulty projections that never came to pass. In fact, if the region experiences 30-50% growth, there will still be enough capacity for as much as ten years.

For more details, such as how the region did up to the sixth cable breaking (suprisingly well), check out the article by the IHT . But at least it looks like something good happened out of the Worldcom scandal. Having that structural redundancy in an area which is prone to earth quakes and natural disasters may be a clarion call for other technologically dependent parts of the world to start investigating what their disaster plans look olike.

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