Red Sea: Damaged Cables Block 25% of Internet Traffic

Accusations against the Houthis, who, however, deny any responsibility

Some cables running along the bottom of the Red Sea have been damaged and are causing difficulties for the global telecommunications network between Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

This was reported by CNN, which quoted Hong Kong-based HGC Global Communications as saying that “cables belonging to four major telecommunications networks were severed, causing significant disruption in the operation of communications networks in the Middle East.” According to the company’s own estimates, 25% of traffic between Asia and Europe is indicative of the problems: to minimize damage to users, operators are redirecting some traffic.

In recent weeks, Yemen’s official government has warned of a possible attack on undersea cables by the Houthis, who have hampered maritime traffic in the Red Sea with repeated attacks on tankers and container ships. However, the Houthis, who last week had already been accused of interfering with some cables used for global communications, have denied any accusations, explaining that they had no intention of damaging the communications of countries in the area. Moreover, they redirected the accusation by claiming possible responsibility from the Americans and the British, who gravitate to the region and who have carried out military attacks on Houthi positions in Yemen in recent days.

According to some experts interviewed by CNN, repairing damaged cables could take up to two months because of the difficulty of operating in the area. Fortunately, telecommunication companies usually use different channels to transmit their data and therefore should be able to handle the emergency situation by rerouting traffic.