Classes suspended due to internet maintenance

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Classes suspended due to internet maintenance
Earlier, PLDT/Smart, Globe, SKY Cable and Converge issued separate statements assuring customers that their services will not be affected by the emergency maintenance work of the AAG cables.
AFP / File

MANILA, Philippines — Several academic institutions have suspended online classes until next week despite assurance from service providers that the emergency maintenance of submarine cables in Hong Kong will not affect internet connectivity in the country.

The Far Eastern University said its campuses in Manila, Makati and Cavite will conduct only asynchronous classes, or those not involving real-time online activities, from Sept. 25 to 30.

Similar advisories were issued by the Technological University of the Philippines, Assumption College in Davao, Asian College in Quezon City and the University of Perpetual Help and Malayan Colleges in Laguna.

Several academic units of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) have also suspended synchronous classes in light of the maintenance activities on a portion of the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) submarine cables from Sept. 26 to 30.

The UST Faculty of Engineering suspended both synchronous and asynchronous classes, while the Faculty of Arts and Letters said it will hold minimal asynchronous engagements.

The UST College of Commerce and Business Administration said only asynchronous classes will be conducted until Sept. 30.

Meanwhile, Saint Louis University in Baguio cancelled all forms of classes during the maintenance period.

The University of Mindanao said no synchronous classes, examinations or submission of assignments will be conducted during the period.

Earlier, PLDT/Smart, Globe, SKY Cable and Converge issued separate statements assuring customers that their services will not be affected by the emergency maintenance work of the AAG cables.

“We have identified alternative cable systems to keep our connectivity all throughout. We have also adopted measures such as traffic rerouting and local caching, ensuring that most frequently downloaded content are located in the Philippines,” said PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart.

“Students can still do their online studies and exams, and users in homes and businesses can go about their normal internet-based activities during this time,” it added.

Globe, for its part, said the activity has no impact on their customers, assuring them that their “network experience will remain unaffected.”

Converge said its services will not be affected as they have sufficient international capacity on multiple submarine cable system links to Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States.

SKY Cable, which initially warned slow internet connection among its Fiber subscribers, later said that it has activated back-up capacity to offset any adverse effects of the emergency maintenance activity.

“As a result, this AAG activity will not be affecting our SKYFiber and SKYCable subscribers,” it said in its advisory.

On Friday, several Google services experienced a 30-minute outage affecting a significant number of users worldwide.

Affected Google services included Gmail, Calendar, Groups, Chat and Meet, as well as video sharing platform YouTube, which is also owned by Google.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better,” Google said in an advisory around 10 a.m.

Disaster reporting

Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) has launched an online information system that will hasten the reporting of the impact of disasters and other emergencies affecting schools nationwide.

Developed with Save the Children Philippines and Prudence Foundation, the Rapid Assessment of Damages Report (RADaR) mobile and web applications aims to ensure immediate response interventions in the aftermath of disasters.

“The RADaR mobile and web applications will support our regional, division and school-based disaster risk reduction and management coordinators in reporting and rapidly assessing the impacts of disasters,” said Undersecretary for administration Alain Pascua.

The system includes a dashboard that contains details of the reports submitted by coordinators in the field.

Pascua said the reports from the RADaR app will provide estimates of the damage caused by disasters and will serve as the basis for immediate response interventions to these schools.

Alberto Muyot, chief executive officer of Save the Children Philippines, said the mobile and web application will be vital in ensuring the safety of learners and personnel once the safe resumption of face-to-face classes is allowed.

“Children will bear the greatest impact if a disaster takes place in a school environment, and we must guarantee their safety during emergencies while they are away from their parents and guardians,” he said.

“Working hand in hand with the Philippine government, we are improving national systems for risk assessment, guidance, planning and reporting to support schools to build safe facilities, put appropriate emergency procedures in place and to recover quickly when disasters take place,” added Marc Fancy, executive director of Prudence Foundation, the community investment arm of PruLife UK’s parent company Prudential.

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