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Cable linking Lebanon to the world under maintenance

Feb 08

Ogero chief Imad Kreidieh Wednesday confirmed that a major submarine cable system connecting Lebanon’s internet to the outside world was undergoing maintenance, but expected the work to be completed by Thursday without significant interruption to users. “The IMEWE [India-Middle East-Western Europe] cable is undergoing regular maintenance, which takes about four to five days normally – should be done tomorrow [Thursday],” Kreidieh said in a phone call with The Daily Star.

The IMEWE submarine cable is an ultra-high capacity fiber optic submarine cable system that links internet and communications systems from India to Europe via the Middle East.

However, complaints filed across Beirut over slower-than-normal internet speeds were not linked to this. “To be very honest, based on the [test results] we’re getting, we are not in a bad shape at all,” Kreidieh said, adding that internet is “just below 80 percent capacity now.”

Asked about the slow speeds, he said that Ogero had taken all necessary measures to prevent users experiencing problems during the maintenance. “This [report] could be a different problem, something minor,” but not related to the ongoing work, he added.

Earlier this week, the Ogero head warned internet users in the country that the maintenance would be undertaken. “Good evening to all. Unfortunately, I don’t have good news tonight. After ALEXANDROS [Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt and France], it is the turn of IMEWE to be maintained. In effect, the cable was taken offline. The intervention will take 5 days to be completed. Ogero IT team is working on the traffic routing. The situation will start getting better at 1:00 am and will be stabilized around noon tomorrow. I ask all our partners to be patient. Thank you,” Kreidieh wrote in a tweet.

Prior to the IMEWE, Kreidieh also took to Twitter to inform the public about the marine cable between Cyprus and Alexandria. “Repairs are in their final stages. Branching is causing some disturbances affecting the quality of service. Repairs expected to end tomorrow end of the day. Will keep you posted. Apologies to all,” he wrote on Feb. 3.

Separately, workers at the state-run internet company Wednesday said they would strike for two days next week if they did not receive their wages in accordance with the salary scale law. The strike is set for Feb. 15 and 16 if their demands for the law’s implementation are not met.

The strike was called after a meeting at the national workers federation (FENASOL) in Beirut.

Kreidieh said the board had approved the new salary adjustment and was waiting for Finance Ministry approval.

The salary scale law, passed by Parliament in July, mandated an increase in wages for all public sector workers.