Internet to slow down in Vietnam on repair of undersea cable

Repair work on the Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) off Malaysia, which encountered an outage late last month, is scheduled for completion on April 11, Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group said.

Maintenance work on the Intra Asia (IA) cable connecting Vietnam with Hong Kong and other parts of Asia will last from March 20 until April 1.

Since they are two major internet routes in Vietnam, the simultaneous disruption would severely affect traffic in March, the state-owned company said.

Several internet service providers have said they are ready to reroute and transfer signals to other cables to minimize the impacts on users. But it will take users longer to access websites or online services hosted outside the country during peak hours.

The APG, installed in January 2017, has broken down at least twice since. It runs 10,400 kilometers (6,460 miles) under the Pacific linking Japan with Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

It cost $450 million, has a capacity of more than 54 Tbps and promises to double internet speeds in Vietnam and ease its reliance on the notorious AAG, which has broken down or been shut down for maintenance on numerous occasions since 2011.

Vietnam currently has six submarine cable systems, plus a 120 gigabit channel that runs overland through China.

The 6,800km (4,225 miles) IA cable was installed in November 2009, connecting Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Japan.

More than 50 million people in Vietnam, or over half the population, are online.

With a download speed of 6.72 megabytes per second, last August Vietnam’s internet speed was ranked 75th out of 199 countries and territories in a global survey M-Lab, a San Francisco-based provider of internet performance data.

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