Monday, 8 January 2007

disconnected!

First of all..... A Happy New Year... that 2007 will bring you all you expect it to bring!

On this side there are some interesting developments on the boiler plate.... more to come shortly :)

In the last week of the New Year I had a really interesting business meeting (funnily enough with an internet company!!). Before I left the house I read the last details, checked the news and read about the earth quake in Taiwan. In the evening before I saw a good friend online, kind of assumed he was ok there.

Upon my return home I noticed that I lost all internet connection. Going through the whole sequence of checking everything....I found out that it still didn't work :). Calling my ISP (www.netvigator.com) didn't really help either as the lines were jammed. When speaking to my girlfriend, I found out that they were without connection as well. And since I couldn't check a website... it was time to switch on the TV. We happen to use NOW BROADBAND, which is IP TV based....even this was slightly effected by the mainly internal internet traffic.

About the next day I found out that it was indeed another earthquake. Information on earthquakes in Hong Kong is distributed by the Hong Kong observatory.

A few samples:
Press Releases on Earthquakes

Bulletin issued at 20:53 HKT 26/Dec/2006


A severe earthquake was recorded by the Hong Kong Observatory
at 8:28 p.m. today (Tuesday, 26 December 2006).

The epicentre was initially determined to be over Luzon Strait (21.8N,
120.6E), about 97 kilometres south-southeast of GaoXiong.

The magnitude was estimated to be 7.2 on the Richter Scale.


And

Bulletin issued at 22:05 HKT 26/Dec/2006


A MINOR EARTH TREMOR WAS RECORDED BY THE HONG KONG OBSERVATORY
AT 8:28 P.M. TODAY (TUESDAY, 26 DECEMBER 2006).

A NUMBER OF LOCAL RESIDENTS REPORTED TO HAVE FELT THIS TREMOR,
THE DURATION OF WHICH WAS A FEW SECONDS. ACCORDING TO THESE REPORTS,
THE INTENSITY OF THE TREMOR WAS ESTIMATED TO BE III(THREE) TO IV(FOUR) ON
THE MODIFIED MERCALLI SCALE OF XII (TWELVE). PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS PLACED
THE EPICENTRE OF THE EARTHQUAKE OVER LUZON STRAIT, ABOUT 97 KILOMETRES
SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF GAOXIONG.
THE MAGNITUDE WAS ESTIMATED TO BE 7.2 ON THE RICHTER SCALE.

FOR FURTHER ENQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT DR. W.T. WONG AT 2926 8430.


As well as the main damaging one:

Bulletin issued at 11:30 HKT 27/Dec/2006


AN INTENSE EARTHQUAKE WAS RECORDED BY THE HONG KONG OBSERVATORY
AT 10:32 A.M. TODAY (WEDNESDAY, 27 DECEMBER 2006).

THE EPICENTRE WAS INITIALLY DETERMINED TO BE OVER LUZON STRAIT (22.1N,120.5E),

ABOUT 65 KILOMETRES SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF GAOXIONG.

THE MAGNITUDE WAS ESTIMATED TO BE 5.6 ON THE RICHTER SCALE.


One of the international reports of course came from the BBC, where the focus (obviouslY) was on the people. The second report was made 2 days later describing that some connections were getting back to normal.

This was correct in my experience. The first days, i could not get any connection. Even accessing Hong Kong sites was difficult. My gmail, yahoo mail, yahoo messenger, msn etc did not function. The only communication that seems to come through was skype.

It was not only the internet that was effected. Mainly all electronic international communication was effected, including long distance phone calls. This was caused by the fact that 6 out of 7 submarine cables were damaged, and the 7th one had minor damage. The question I have in this case is why is such important communication only lead over 1 location. The OFTA in Hong Kong has raised some concerns as well to see how we can prevent situations like that.

A major space for improvement is on the communication of the disruptions. It took most ISP's more then a few days to report to the public about what happened and when improvement was expected.
Speaking on a talk show, Director-General of Telecommunications Au Man-ho said there is room for improving the notification mechanism. Internet service providers may be asked to report service disruptions as soon as possible, he added.



As I mentioned before, the HK Stock exchange didn't have any obvious sufferings. This doesn't count for the traders working at it. Many businesses were affected due to delays in communication or even the absence of communication. Again, not only internet but also international phonelines were affected. A number of banks were affected as their clients could not acces online banking sites.

More details at an article of the HK STandard


My internet connection is doing not bad. After being completely out of email for 3 days, it started coming back slowly. Now i can access most foreign websites again and even do some bigger downloads. This merely due to rerouting of datatraffic.

The cables are still damaged and they have some setbacks. One of the repair ships had to return to harbour due to problems with the stabilizing thrusthers.

"Repairs on a single spot will take up to two to three weeks, but the bad weather and enwound cables add further complication to the repair work," said an official of China Telecom, China's largest telecom operator.


according to http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/?id=302116&type=Business


Anyway, it would be interesting to see the response of different parties and see what lessons are learned from it.