Bangladesh suffers internet disruption after cut cable

A Bangladeshi woman logs onto social networking website Facebook on her laptop in Dhaka
Image caption Officials say they hope to restore normal network speeds by early next week

Internet users in Bangladesh are facing major disruption to their service after a submarine cable was cut.

The accident affected the SEA-ME-WE 4 optical fibre system that runs from France to Malaysia.

The accident occurred earlier this week about 60km (40 miles) from Singapore's coast.

India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore also rely on the section of cable involved but have been able to route traffic via other connections.

"Bangladesh does not have an alternative submarine cable or any other connection," said Monwar Hossain, managing director of the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company which operates the country's segment of the network.

He could not explain what had caused the damage.

The firm said the east segment of the cable was out of operation, forcing it to send all data through the remaining west segment.

Slow access

About 5% of Bangladesh's population of 165 million citizens have access to broadband internet.

Local reports suggest that firms are experiencing very slow connections causing problems for internet-based phone calls and email.

"Work at the garment factories and outsourcing firms have also been disrupted due to the slow connection," said Akhtaruzzaman Monju, president of the Internet Service Providers' Association of Bangladesh.

Users have been told that it could take until next week to repair the connection.

Bangladesh aims to secure an alternative connection in 2014 via a new network named SEA-ME-WE 5 which will use 100 Gbps (gigabit per second) technology - ten times faster than the current system.

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