AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d seeLater, Chunghwa said connections to the U.S., China and Canada were mostly restored, but 70 percent of the capacity to Japan was still down, along with 90 percent of the capacity to Southeast Asia. Stephan Beckert, an analyst with the Washington-based research firm TeleGeography, said it was the largest telecommunications failure in years. “The magnitude of the break is surprising because Taiwan is otherwise a very well-connected system,” Beckert said. He noted that cables get cut and disrupted all the time, but said there’s usually enough backup capacity on other lines to keep traffic flowing without customers noticing an interruption. But with multiple cables broken in one blow, Internet traffic around the Pacific was disrupted. Hong Kong telephone company PCCW Ltd., which also provides Internet service, said the quake cut its data capacity in half. Internet access was cut or severely slowed in Beijing, said an official from China Netcom, China’s No. 2 phone company. The official, who would not give his name, said the cause was thought to be the earthquake, but he had no further details. TAIPEI, Taiwan – Undersea fiber-optic cables were damaged by a powerful earthquake off the southern tip of Taiwan, causing the largest outage of telephone and Internet service in years and demonstrating the vulnerability of the global telecommunications network. Two residents were killed and more than 40 injured in the magnitude-6.7 tremor that hit offshore, near the southern Taiwanese town of Hengchun, late Tuesday. Up to a dozen fiber-optic cables cross the ocean floor south of Taiwan, carrying traffic between China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, the U.S. and the island itself. Chunghwa Telecom Co., Taiwan’s largest phone company, said the quake damaged several of them, and that repairs could take two to three weeks. Taiwan lost almost all of its telephone capacity to Japan and mainland China. Service to the United States also was hard hit, with 60 percent of capacity lost. The Internet Traffic Report Web site, which monitors Internet connectivity in several countries, showed that packet loss, or the percentage of data that doesn’t reach its destination, spiked sharply in Asia at the time of the earthquake, rising from about 10 percent to more than 40 percent. On Wednesday afternoon U.S. time, the Web site showed limited connectivity to China, Singapore and Indonesia, while Japan and Taiwan were apparently back to normal. KDDI Corp., Japan’s major carrier for international calls, said its fixed-line telephone service was affected by the quake. Company spokesman Haruhiko Maeda said customers were having trouble calling India and the Middle East, which usually use the cables near Taiwan. Maeda said the company was rerouting calls through the U.S. and Europe. South Korea’s largest telecom company, KT, said the lines it uses were damaged, affecting dozens of companies and institutions, including South Korea’s Foreign Ministry. In the U.S., Cisco Systems Inc.’s Linksys unit warned that customer support call centers for its home networking gear were affected by the outage, but other companies with overseas call centers reported few problems. Molly Faust, a spokeswoman for American Express Co., the global travel and payment card company headquartered in New York, said the company “wasn’t experiencing any customer service issues in Asia.” She said there were “some interruptions” of the company’s computer systems in Taiwan.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!