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African countries hit by major internet outage

By Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-05-14 21:56

A recovery process to restore internet to parts of East Africa following outages caused by a submarine cable cut have commenced. However, the Communication Authority of Kenya said on Monday that the unresolved internet disruptions will persist in the coming days.

According to David Mugonyi, the director at the Communication Authority of Kenya, service providers in the country have been directed to take proactive steps to secure alternative routes for their traffic. Internet service providers servicing the East African region say they are working to minimize interruption as they await the full restoration of the cables.

Safaricom, a leading internet service provider in East Africa, acknowledged experiencing an outage due to damage to one of the undersea cables that manage internet traffic. In response to this disruption, Safaricom activated various redundancy measures aimed at minimizing service interruptions.

In addition, the company informed their customers that while they work towards fully restoring the damaged cable, there may still be periods of reduced internet speeds.

"We have experienced an outage on one of the undersea cables that deliver internet traffic in and out of the country. We have since activated redundancy measures to minimize service interruption and keep you connected as we await the full restoration of the cable. You may, however, experience reduced internet speeds. We thank you for your patience and understanding," the company said in a statement Released on Monday.

Ben Roberts, chief technology innovation officer at Liquid Intelligent Technologies Kenya said that faults have been reported in the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System and the Seacom cables. He added that three crucial submarine cables in the Red Sea have also suffered cuts and remain unrepaired, leading to the widespread outage.

"Internet to East Africa is severely impaired. All sub-sea capacities between East Africa and South Africa are down. 3 cable cuts in Red Sea that is Seacom, EIG and AAE1 remain unrepaired" Ben said in a post on social media platform X.

According to the latest reports, the cable problems have had a severe impact on internet users in Kenya and Tanzania with social media posts suggesting a near total internet blackout in some areas. Rwanda, Uganda and Madagascar also appear to be affected.

This is the second time Africa has experienced a major fibre cut this year. In March, a suspected underwater rock slid off the coast of Cote d'Ivoire resulting in several submarine cables being offline. The cables included Africa Coast to Europe, Submarine Atlantic 3 and the West Africa Submarine Cable. The outage impacted 13 African countries located on the West African seaboard, causing either degraded services or near-total internet outages.

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