On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Bristol, I passed the time of day with my neighbour at the garden gate. He told me a funny story about his friend who was unable to book a flight to Dubai because the airline websites were down – it was all because an Egyptian fisherman had dropped his anchor on the cable, causing havoc with the internet connections in the middle east.
My neighbour specialises in telling those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories that seem so improbable, they must be true. So I decided to investigate this particular tall tale for myself.
I discovered from Reuters that breaks in two cables off the Egyptian coast and one off the coast of United Arab Emirates had created chaos with internet access in the Gulf region and South Asia. Egypt lost more than half its internet capacity because of the breaks and the the service was not expected to be back to normal for 10 days. A major UAE telecom firm had been forced to re-route traffic via Saudi Arabia and India’s internet services were operating at 80% of capacity, affecting Indian call centres.
As bloggers we rely on our internet access and fellow blogger Dubai-Jazz had a good old moan;
The internet service has been down for the last couple of days. I couldn’t do anything significant during the slow down. I couldn’t even post comments on my own blog let alone others. Gmail was also down. Youtube? … forget about it.
All this was because some extra-witty Egyptian fisherman has decided to drop his anchor deep in the Mediterranean. Not only he’d dropped the anchor so deep and hurt one of the cables supplying bites to the Middle East and India, he had also dragged his anchor for 400 meters and cut another main cable in the process.
This surely must be a living example of chaos theory, where the beat of a butterfly’s wings may alter the balance of nature and cause a typhoon.