When we reported early last week on the latest issue facing the Asia America Gateway (AAG) undersea cable – and internet users in Vietnam – it wasn’t clear how long repairs would take. We now know it could be another week before normal service is resumed.
According to local news reports, Vietnam will continue to experience the effects of an internet slowdown until repairs to the AAG undersea cable are completed, which could take until 21 April. The operators of the AAG have told local service providers that repairs on the cable are to begin on 17 April.
The first indication of an issue was on 2 April, when the cable’s S1 branch connecting Vietnam and Hong Kong experienced a technical problem, which slowed down traffic. Worse still, Vietnam, like many other countries, is experiencing restrictions on movement due to the coronavirus; millions of people are studying or working from home amid a 15-day nationwide social distancing campaign. This has certainly affected levels of internet traffic, which jumped by about 40 percent in March, according to data from the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority.
Vietnam has six submarine cable systems and a 120 gigabit channel that runs overland through China. However, according to local media, the AAG handles more than 60 percent of the country’s international internet traffic – and this is just the latest in a number of breaks or issues it has experienced that have affected a country where more than 64 percent of the population is said to be online.