KARACHI: A large number of citizens faced slow int­ernet speeds on Wednesday due to a disruption blamed on a fault in one of the international submarine cables.

NetBlocks, a London-based group that monitors internet access, confirmed the disruption. “An internet outage impacted service on several providers in Pakistan with a partial restoration now observed; network operators attribute the disruption to multiple international cable cuts.”

Earlier in the day, Meta-owned social networking sites Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram also went down in several parts of Pakistan.

According to reports sha­red by the outage tracker Dow­ndetector, the apps went down after 5pm on Wedne­sday, with hundreds of people reporting they could not access these platforms.

More than 11,000 users across Instagram, Facebook and Messenger reported issues with accessing the apps, sending messages and logging into their accounts, Downdetector said.

Downdetector tracks outages by collating status reports from several sources, including user-submitted errors on its platform. The outage may have affected a larger number of users.

A similar problem was also experienced a few days ago on Oct 25 in a global outage. And just two days ago, Instagram was down for users across the globe and was restored hours after.

On Wednesday, several people took to Twitter, which was working fine, complaining about connectivity issues and logging into accounts. However, after a while, some users reported being able to send and receive messages on WhatsApp.

The outage followed a flurry of memes. One showed Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg standing all confused before a maze of wires and holding a couple of cables in one hand while scratching his head with the other, trying to figure out which wire to connect where.

However, the more tech-savvy users regrated that “we rely too much on WhatsApp” and pointed to options like Telegram and Signal, which can be used for sharing messages, etc. “It’s our own fault that we feel completely lost now,” one individual said.

Access improved somewhat after 8.30pm, according to some people whom Dawn spoke to.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2022

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