Singtel users grapple with slower network speeds after submarine cables damaged; other telcos unaffected

The cables were damaged in the course of fishing-related activities, and seabed movements caused by earthquakes. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singtel users have experienced a slowdown in network speeds when connecting to websites and servers in the United States after a few submarine cables were damaged in February.

In response to queries, a Singtel spokesman on Tuesday said the cables, owned by a consortium of global telcos, were damaged in the course of fishing-related activities and seabed movements caused by earthquakes.

Cables had to be shut down for repairs and that, too, affected some of the cables, she added.

The spokesman said: “Our engineers took swift action to implement mitigation measures such as re-routing traffic to other cable channels. Repair works are being carried out by our cable partners to restore normal levels of service and are close to completion.”

She added that users could experience intermittent slower transmission when watching US-based content or connecting to certain gaming sites.

In an update on Thursday, the Singtel spokesman said: “Despite this, almost all Singtel users have been able to enjoy strong connectivity as traffic was promptly rerouted to other cable channels.”

On social media platform Twitter, several users reported experiencing lags when trying to play games.

Twitter user William Lim, who tagged Singtel Support in his post and plays a computer game called Modern Warfare 2, said: “Have been getting (more than) 200 ping, when previously had less than 10, frustrating to deal with.”

When a person or business is tagged on Twitter, they will be notified of the message that mentions them. Singtel Support is Singtel’s products and services support team.

A ping is an estimate in milliseconds of how long the game takes to register a command. If a user’s ping has a speed of over 100 milliseconds, their game is noticeably slowed down.

Another Twitter user, Mr Victor Leong, in a tweet said he had a difficult time playing Diablo IV as the non-player character or monster did not load in the game.

The Singtel spokesman said: “We apologise for the inconvenience caused. We are monitoring the situation and assisting any impacted customers.”

In response to queries, the other telcos said they were unaffected.

A StarHub spokesman said its customers were not affected because of arrangements that allow it to tap on other cable channels.

M1, was not affected either, said a spokesman for the telco.

On Thursday, the Singtel spokesman said most of the submarine cables have been repaired, with the last one due to be completed this week.

She said: “Investigations into the causes of the damage to these cables are ongoing, but ship anchors have been found to be the cause for the impacted cables off Shantou, China.

“The ship responsible has been identified and action is being taken against the errant operator.”

The spokesman added that customers who experience issues watching US-based content or connecting to certain gaming sites can contact Singtel for help.

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