Super cyclone Vardah (Red rose in Arabic, Urdu) which hit Chennai and surrounding coastal areas earlier this week, has unleashed havoc and destruction all around. And one of the casualties have been Internet and telecommunication connectivity in entire Southern India.
Even as Vardah has slowed down in Tamil Nadu, and moving towards Karnataka, the after-effects of the cyclone is clearly visible in states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
And one of the most prominent reasons is the disturbance caused to the undersea cable network, which is also India’s 2nd such International Gateway for connecting Internet.
Undersea Network Shaken, Stirred By Vardah
In India, there are only two International Gateways – the mega-hubs of undersea cable network where data is transmitted to different routes, via various paths. One is situated in Chennai, and the other is in Mumbai.
Super cyclone Vardah has caused much disturbance to the undersea cable network and the International gateway in Chennai, which resulted in slow access to Internet by almost every ISP.
Northern India was largely unaffected due to the Mumbai based International gateway; but Southern states were heavily affected.
Airtel, which has recently invested huge amounts in building a world-class undersea cable network in and around Chennai also faced trouble as their infrastructure was rattled by cyclone Vardah.
Due to these reasons, people faced problems while conducting any Internet related work – mobile payments, access to emails/social media portals, money transfer etc.
Very soon, India’s third International Gateway will be opened in Agartala, thereby providing an additional cushion for handling aftermath of such natural causes.
ISPs, Telcos Inform and Alert Their Users
Meanwhile, various Internet Service Providers and Telecom Operators issued advisories and alerts for their users regarding slow Internet speed and disruption in connectivity.
Airtel, whose V-fiber network in Chennai was adversely affected, was among the first to alert their users.
They sent an SMS to all users: “Dear Customer, the cyclone in Chennai has impacted one of our undersea cables which may affect Internet speeds of your Airtel Broadband connection. We deeply regret the inconvenience. Our engineers are working to resolve the issue and services will be normalised shortly.”
Meanwhile, Vodafone too informed their users: “Cyclone Vardah, which paralyzed Chennai and nearby areas, caused disruption of some of our services as well. Our on-ground teams are working on a war-footing to restore services in the shortest possible time.”
This message was shared by S. Murali – Business Head for Vodafone’s Tamil Nadu unit.
Reports also emerged by Global Cloud Xchange, the undersea arm of Reliance Communications was also affected by Vardah, although no official confirmation was released.
In a SMS alert, YOU Broadband shared:
Meanwhile, ACT Fibernet informed: “ACT Fibernet’s network has been impacted by the Cyclone Vardah on multiple counts that include downtime in international Gateway, power shutdown in switches and routers and last mile fiber disconnections due to Tree Falls, pillar collapses and so on. Close to 50% of our network was impacted in Chennai leading to intermittent network issues. Our team has been working round the clock and reinforcement team from Bangalore has also joined the restoration work in Chennai..”