Internet Outages Hit East and Southern Africa Due to Submarine Cable Faults

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Countries across East and Southern Africa are grappling with a widespread internet outage caused by faults in several submarine cables. According to Cloudflare Radar, which tracks internet disruptions, Tanzania is among the hardest hit, experiencing a significant drop in internet traffic to only 30% of its normal levels.

Ben Roberts, the Group Chief Technology Officer (CTIO) at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, alerted the public via X (formerly Twitter) that internet connectivity to East Africa has been severely impacted. Roberts highlighted that all subsea capacity between East Africa and South Africa is currently down due to cable faults. Specifically, the EASSy Cable has confirmed a fault, while the Seacom Cable is also reporting issues following simultaneous incidents affecting three cables in the Red Sea (Seacom, EIG, AAE1) that are yet to be repaired.

The damaged cables are believed to be located somewhere between South Africa and Mozambique. Chris Wood, CEO of the West Indian Ocean Cable Company, disclosed that a cable repair vessel based in Cape Town has been mobilized and is scheduled to depart on Tuesday morning to address the issue. However, the repair process, expected to take three days to reach the site of damage, will depend on various factors including weather conditions and the extent of the damage, which remains uncertain.

The repercussions of these cable faults have already been felt by major telecom operators like Airtel Kenya, Telkom Kenya, and Safaricom, all of which have reported disruptions in service.

In a statement, Airtel Kenya confirmed the service disruption, stating, “We are still coordinating with the undersea fibre cable team to resolve the issue.”

This incident marks the second significant submarine cable break in Africa this year. In March, four submarine cables on the West Coast of Africa – WACS, Sat-3, Ace, and MainOne – were damaged near the Ivory Coast, causing widespread connectivity issues across the continent. While the response to that incident was swift, there has been no official confirmation that all affected cables have been fully repaired.

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