Vardah shouldn’t be blamed for India’s Internet outage

Posted on December 15, 2016  /  3 Comments

indiaIndia is the point of transit for every submarine cable connecting Asia with Africa and Europe via Middle East. Altogether 19 submarine cables have landed in five different Indian locations: Mumbai (11 cables), Chennai (4 cables), Cochin (2 cables), Trivandrum (1 cable) and Tuticorine (1 cable). These sparsely located landing points are good enough to make India the home of a highly resilient international connectivity. Early this week Cyclone Vardah has, however, exposed India’s, notably of Bharti Airtel’s, fragility instead.

Bharti Airtel has stakes in five submarine cable networks: i2i, SEA-ME-WE 4, EIG, I-ME-WE and AAG. All these cables, except AAG, have landed in India. SEA-ME-WE 4, EIG and I-ME-WE have landed in Mumbai while i2i and SEA-ME-WE 4 have landed in Chennai. It may be noted that SEA-ME-WE 4 has double landing locations – Mumbai and Chennai.

Therefore, it would be quite logical for Bharti Airtel to interconnect its Mumbai and Chennai cable landing facilities through underground optical fiber networks either by the national highway or by the railway track. Evidently neither has happened and the Bharti Airtel’s international connectivity was severed once the Chennai cable landing facility was damaged by Cyclone Vardah.

It’s another example of obsolete engineering doctrine that segregates the submarine and terrestrial networks.


  1. yup, i understand i2i cable affected. However, they have diversity as well via Mumbai which they able to restore the services.

  2. “Diverse cable landing stations couldn’t save India”..Does not make sense with the “Title Used “…Only Airtel has affected !!!! There is Tata landing in Chennai..BBG ..others as well…Also , there is diversity via Mumbai as well…

  3. It is a case of Murphy’s law which says “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Now network service provider knows what went wrong which they didn’t before. So natural action is to redesign the network. Blame game may console many, it is not going to resolve the issue.
    BTW internet was designed to work in catastrophe condition and it never guarantees quality of service. That is the core architecture of internet (TCP/IP).