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MainOne: 13 African Countries Affected By Submarine Cable Cut, Internet Disruption May Persist For Three Weeks

MainOne says repairing its undersea cables might take about three weeks, as 13 African countries grapple with internet disruptions.

MainOne, a digital infrastructure service provider in West Africa, on Friday, revealed that repairing its undersea submarine cables might take about three weeks.

On Thursday, subsea cable providers were affected by major cuts to undersea submarine cables, disrupting internet traffic in major parts of the continent.

In a statement, MainOne said an additional two to three weeks of transit time may be required for a vessel to pick up the spares of submarine cables and travel from Europe to West Africa.

Commenting on the network outage, MainOne stated that preliminary findings and further investigations showed, “the fault occurred due to an external incident that resulted in a cut on its submarine cable system, in the Atlantic Ocean offshore Cote D’Ivoire, along the coast of West Africa”.

“We have a maintenance agreement with Atlantic Cable Maintenance and Repair Agreement (ACMA) to provide repair services for the submarine cable.

“First identify and assign a vessel, the vessel has to retrieve the necessary spares required for repair, and then sail to the fault location to conduct the repair work.

“Next, in order to complete the repair, the affected section of the submarine cable will have to be pulled from the seabed onto the ship where it will be spliced by skilled technicians.”

According to MainOne, after repair, joints will be inspected and tested for any defects and subsequently, the submarine cable will be lowered back to the seabed and placed in a good position.

Meanwhile, a preliminary report on the effect of submarine cable cut in the Red Sea of the Atlantic Ocean showed that 13 African countries were affected, as the cut led to disruption of internet services in the affected countries, and businesses completely grounded in some of the countries.

The affected countries included Cote d’ Ivoire, Liberia, Benin Republic, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Cameroon, Gabon, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Lesotho, and parts of South Africa.  

NetBlocks, a global internet monitoring organisation, which released its preliminary report on Friday, disclosed that out of the 13 affected countries, Cote d’ Ivoire was the worst hit, which led to severe internet disruptions that brought the country’s internet connectivity to as low as four percent.

According to the report, Liberia, Benin Republic, Ghana and Burkina Faso suffered high internet impact that brought their internet connectivity to 20 percent, 14 percent, 25 percent and 38 percent respectively.

The report stated that countries like Togo, Cameroon, Gabon, Namibia and Niger, suffered medium internet impact that brought their internet connectivity to 42 percent, 58 percent, 55 percent, 55 percent and 69 percent respectively.

It however stated that countries like Nigeria, Lesotho and South Africa, had low internet impact and businesses were mildly affected. While Nigeria had 72 percent connectivity, Lesotho had 74 percent internet connectivity, and South Africa had 82 percent internet connectivity after the cable cut, according to the report.

Emma Okonji 

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