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The Internet

Ship Anchor, Not Sabotaging Divers, Possibly Responsible For Outage 43

Nerval's Lobster writes "This week, Egypt caught three men in the process of severing an undersea fiber-optic cable. But Telecom Egypt executive manager Mohammed el-Nawawi told the private TV network CBC that the reason for the region's slowdowns was not the alleged saboteurs — it was damage previously caused by a ship. On March 22, cable provider Seacom reported a cut in its Mediterranean cable connecting Southern and Eastern Africa, the Middle East and Asia to Europe; it later suggested that the most likely cause of the incident was a ship anchor, and that traffic was being routed around the cut, through other providers. But repairs to the cable took longer than expected, with the Seacom CEO announcing March 23 that the physical capability to connect additional capacity to services in Europe was "neither adequate nor stable enough," and that it was competing with other providers. The repairs continued through March 27, after faults were found on the restoration system; that same day, Seacom denied that the outage could have been the work of the Egyptian divers, but said that the true cause won't be known for weeks. 'We think it is unlikely that the damage to our system was caused by sabotage,' the CEO wrote in a statement. 'The reasons for this are the specific location, distance from shore, much greater depth, the presence of a large anchored vessel on the fault site which appears to be the cause of the damage and other characteristics of the event.'"
Transportation

What the Google-ITA Deal Really Portends 77

Much of the discussion about Google's bid to buy ITA Software, including here, has been limited by the lack of understanding all around about how airline search and reservations actually work now, and what it is exactly that ITA Software does. Travel expert Edward Hasbrouck wrote a detailed 3-part piece on his blog explaining the back story, what ITA Software does, and what it means for travelers. "...because CRS/GDS [Computerized Reservation Systems or Global Distribution Systems] companies are generally invisible in their intermediary role (and currently all owned by groups of private equity investors, so they need not report publicly on their finances or operations), few analysts outside the travel tech industry know how to interpret the implications of Google's decision to invest $700 million in this sector. Frankly, I'm not at all sure Google itself understands what ITA Software does (and doesn't) do, and what they are getting for their money. ... What will this deal mean for travelers? The short answer is that it is likely to be a bad thing for travelers ... because it is likely to exacerbate the trend toward personalized and less transparent pricing of airline tickets (and other travel services) and the de facto disappearance of key consumer protection principles embodied in the definition of a common carrier and the requirement for a published tariff applicable equally to all would-be customers complying with the same rules."

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