Vietnam will continue to suffer from an Internet slowdown for another two-weeks, with the operator of the Asia America Gateway (AAG) underseas cable saying that the earliest repairs can be completed will be April 21.
AAG has notified key Vietnamese Internet service providers that repairs on the disaster-prone cable, which frequently breaks down, are expected to begin on April 17 and be completed on April 21. Based upon that schedule, the internet will return to “normal” by April 22.
On April 2 the AAG’s S1 branch, which connects Vietnam and Hong Kong, experienced a “technical problem”, which slowed down traffic and affected the international bandwidth that connects Vietnam to the world.
The disruption has come at a time when millions of people are studying or working from home amid a 15-day nationwide social distancing campaign to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority (VTA), Internet traffic increase 40% in March and the VTA expects to increases as use, event after the country’s shut-down is lifted, as more people continue to study and work at home, and watch a greater variety of content through the internet
While Vietnam has six submarine cable systems and a 120-gigabit channel that runs overland through China, when compared to neighboring Singapore, the country’s internet speed is pitiful, with Singapore’s speed being more than 10x that of Vietnam.
Internet experts are concerned that 60% of Vietnam’s international internet traffic is handled by the AAG system, and they have called upon the government to work with private sector companies to both diversify and increase Vietnam’s Internet capacity and bring it up to a level comparable with Singapore.
They also point out that Vietnam has aggressive goals to be one of the leading digital economies in Southeast Asia, but that these goals will be impossible to meet on a long-term basis if the country continues to be so independent upon the AAG system, with its continuous breakdowns.