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March 25, 2011

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6 weeks for sea cable repairs

INTERNET users in Shanghai will have to wait another six weeks before online services return to normal, as work gets under way to repair ocean cables damaged in the Japan earthquake.

Users in the city and elsewhere in the country have seen some services supported by foreign servers hit by interruptions in recent weeks.

About a dozen undersea cables near Japan were damaged by the quake, according to the Sino-British Submarine System Co Ltd, a company affiliated to China Telecom.

The cable maintenance company has now dispatched a team to work with counterparts from Japan and South Korean to repair the damage.

Since the Japan earthquake on March 11, a small number of users in China have reported random interruptions or reduced speed when using some online services based on information exchanges with overseas servers, according to the telecom authority.

This will be solved after workers repair the quake-hit cables, it said.

Most Internet users in China are not dependent on the damaged cables, so should not have been affected.

A specialist engineering ship carrying 50 Chinese and foreign workers and technicians left a local port yesterday, heading for seas near the Taiwan Island, port immigration police said.

This team will attempt to repair three of the damaged cables, while workers from Japan and South Korea tackle the remainder.

"The technicians said the task ahead would be quite demanding and complicated. The repair operation is estimated to take between 40 to 45 days," said Tang Jie, an immigration police officer at Jinshan Port.

The specialist ship, which carries a robot capable of working under the sea, has proved successful in similar missions in the past.

Concerns about aftershocks at sea had prevented the repair mission from getting under way until now, said the cable company.


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