Tuesday's 7.1 earthquake off the coast of Taiwan may have killed only two people and caused minimal physical damage but it underscored in a big way the vulnerability of the world's communications networks. Parts of Taiwan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong had their telephone and internet service disrupted yesterday as underwater network cables were damaged by the quake. Asian telephone and internet companies such as China Telecom scrambled yesterday to reinstate service to customers who were unable to conduct business as usual by rerouting service through other, undamaged providers. Meanwhile, companies like Verizon and AT&T stand to gain from yesterday's disrupted service as the need for more underwater communications cables between Asia and the U.S. becomes more apparent.
• Sources: Map of Global Communications Networks [pdf file], Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Reuters
• Related commentary: Options Trader: Tuesday Morning Ideas
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: China Telecom (NYSE:CHA), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T). ETFs: iShares Dow Jones US Telecom (NYSEARCA:IYZ), iShares Goldman Sachs Networking (NYSEARCA:IGN), Vanguard Telecommunication Services (NYSEARCA:VOX), PowerShares Dynamic Networking (NYSEARCA:PXQ), PowerShares Dynamic Telecom & Wireless (PTE)
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