updated 6/22/2007 1:19:36 AM ET 2007-06-22T05:19:36

Accidental damage to an undersea fiber-optics cable left millions of people without Internet service in five Latin American countries, the cable’s owner said Thursday.

In Colombia, as many as 45 percent of Internet users were left with limited or no connection. Problems were also reported in Panama, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

The 6,250 mile Arcos network, owned by Columbus Networks, suffered the rupture late Wednesday near Nicaragua, the company said.

In a statement, Columbus said repair ships set sail from Mexico and the company hoped the cable would be fixed on Friday.

The statement did not say what damaged the underwater cable. The company said it would investigate the cause.

The general secretary of the Colombian phone company, Empresa Telefonica de Bogota, Andres Perez, told The Associated Press that nearly half of this South American country’s 5 million Internet users were left without service.

The Nicaraguan Internet service-provider Cablenet said a backup system kicked in after the cable’s rupture delivering limited but slower service.

Costa Rica’s state-run Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad also reported a slowing down of Internet service.

It is the second problem to befall the Arcos network this month. On June 5, a cable off the coast of Venezuela was cut causing no interruption to service.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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