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Three cables under the Mediterranean Sea which link Europe to West Asia have been damaged, causing partial slowdown in India.s Internet and telecom traffic.

Experts said outsourcing traffic and Internet speed were affected yesterday. However, most BPO firms and individual Internet connections are working at normal speed today.

Most of India.s Net traffic is routed through the US and consequently the Pacific link is more important for India than the Mediterranean link, they said.

An IPLC is a point-to-point private line used by an organisation to communicate among its offices across the world.

.Today being a Saturday, we may not feel the full impact of the cuts. Moreover, given the global slowdown, most companies themselves are working fewer hours, and, hence, the impact may be lower,. said Rajesh Chharia, the president of the Internet Service Providers Association of India.

Repair teams are on the job and have diverted most of the traffic through the US, but if the three undersea cables, Sea Me We 4 (SMW-4), Sea Me We 3 (SMW-3) and FLAG, are not completely restored by the weekend, companies could face problems next week.

Internet traffic .from Mumbai to London has now been re-routed via Hong Kong which may lead to congestion and increased latency on this route., Reliance said in an e-mailed .traffic disruption update.. A Reliance spokesperson added: .Most services are working normally now.. The company said it would publish another update on its website tomorrow.

SMW-3 and SMW-4 are owned by groups of phone companies, including Bharti Airtel, while FLAG is owned by Reliance Globalcom . part of the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications.

The causes of the cut . located in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia on sections linking Sicily to Egypt . remain unclear.

Chharia expressed surprise at .the regularity with which these cuts have been happening.. Earlier this year, SMW4 and FLAG were damaged near Alexandria off the coast of Egypt.

In 2006, an earthquake with its epicentre near Taiwan had severed several undersea cables.

Submarine cables are laid beneath the sea to carry telephone and Internet traffic. They can be broken or damaged by fishing trawlers, anchoring, undersea avalanches and even shark bites.