Dhiraagu internet service “restored” after successful repair test

Dhiraagu has said that internet services affected by a damaged section of submarine cable off the Sri Lankan Coast have been “restored” after testing on repairs proved successful today.

The cable was damaged on the evening of Wednesday April 18 forcing the company to provide a “degraded” service to national internet customers for several days as it sought out “diversity routes” to reduce the impact to its operations.

The repair work, which was carried out jointly by Dhiraagu and Sri Lankan Telecom (SLT), commenced last week after a specially equipped repair vessel called the Asean Explorer made its way to Sri Lanka from India.

Company spokesperson Imjad Jaleel told Minivan News that testing on the repaired cable had been under way today to ensure that the company could provide a “normal service” to its clients.  By this evening, Dhiraagu announced the tests had been successful and that its broadband capacity had been restored.

According to Dhiraagu, the damaged section of cable, situated 26 miles off the Sri Lankan coast and 40 metres below the water had been damaged by the anchor of a ship.  The damage was found to have occurred in an area of Sri Lankan waters where vessels were not permitted to anchor, the company had previously announced.

Whilst repairs were being undertaken, the company said it had been working to improve the quality of internet services and international calls affected by the cable damage through alternative avenues like the use of satellites.

Last week, chief national telecoms rival Wataniya announced it was also assisting in the provision of data capacity from its own cable as part of a national agreement to cover any disruptions to the Maldives communication network.  Dhiraagu said it has been paying Wataniya for the data capacity allowance.


Dhiraagu reveals cable repair vessel to arrive April 25, discusses compensation

Dhiraagu has said it does not wish to speculate on a date for the completion of repairs to a damaged section of submarine cable that has severely impacted its internet services over the last week.

The local telecoms group said that until repair work commences on April 25, the company would not be able address the scale and cause of the damage to a section of cable based 26 kilometres from the Sri Lankan coast.  However, a spokesperson stressed to Minivan News that the cause of damage to the cable was being seen as an “accident” at present.

Company Chief Executive Ismail Rasheed today told local media that Dhiraagu would be providing compensation for customers affected by the disruption to its internet services as it works to increase capacity.

Dhiraagu has been looking for so called “diversity routes” since the damage occurred to the cable last Wednesday (April 18), forcing it to provide a “degraded” service to its internet customers,  whilst prioritising e-mail and browsing services.

Dhiraagu added that as part of a national agreement, telecoms rival Wataniya would be assisting in providing data capacity from its own unaffected submarine cable.  The company has said that is is also working to strengthen its satellite operations for international phone services.

Asean Explorer

Company spokesperson Imjad Jaleel has told Minivan News that the Asean Explorer vessel equipped to enact repairs on submarine cables was still expected to leave India on Tuesday before arriving in Sri Lanka the next day.

According to the company, the damage has been located to a section of cable situated 40 metres below the Sri Lankan waters. The cable itself connects Sri Lanka directly to the island of Huhlumale’. From Hulhumale’, this signal is then carried across the country’s scattered atolls.

Spokesperson Imjad stressed that the company would not yet be speculating on a date for full services to resume until it could offer more detailed information to its customers.

The damage sustained to its cable was still being considered an “accident”, possibly resulting from an errant anchor, he added.

The company claimed that preliminary testing had shown that the damage was not believed to have resulted from earth quakes or other geological occurrences, leaving anchoring ships as the most probable cause.

According to Imjad, the cable itself is situated in one of two areas in Sri Lankan waters specifically set aside for the country to house its underwater communications cables. In these areas, the anchoring of ships is not permitted, he added.

“We believe that there could have been an accident with an anchor perhaps accidentally being dropped in these waters, but we will only be able to asses fully on April 25,” Imjad claimed.


Dhiraagu extends 3G Plus network to Fuvah Mulah

Dhiraagu has extended its 3G Plus network to Fuvah Mulah in Gnaviyani Atoll, one of the more densely populated islands in the Maldives.

The expansion gives residents of Fuvah Mulah access to high speed mobile broadband internet, the company said in a statement.

Mobile broadband, along with WiMax technology, is thought to be one of the most economical ways of connecting the scattered population of Maldives to the internet, rather than laying extensive cabling for small populations.

“We are also pleased to reveal today that the work of extending Dhiraagu 3G Plus network and Broadband service to cover more islands, is progressing rapidly,” the company said.


Vice President launches mLearning

Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed launched Wataniya Telecom Maldives’ mobile learning service yesterday afternoon at the Holiday Inn.

The mLearning system, called Education Anywhere, is an initiative from Wataniya, Mobitel Sri Lanka and the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Colombo.The system has been successfully implemented in the University.

mLearning is an interactive tool that uses the internet to create a virtual classroom anywhere there is a Wataniya broadband connection.

Dr Waheed said the service would open more opportunities in higher education for many students who cannot afford to attend classes, or who cannot leave home for other reasons.

He added the government was looking into the possibility of introducing a similar programme for the health and education sectors.