East Africa undersea cable outage enters third week

It’s now week 3 since it was first reported that an undersea fibre cable on the shores of East Africa was downfollowing the TEAMS cable was cut – 5km from Mombasa. EASSy did, suffered a cut on February 17th between Djibouti and Port Sudan. The cut to the EASSy cable only affects the section of cable between Port Sudan and Djibouti.

East Africa cables
East Africa cables

The rest of the cable is working perfectly and due to the collapsed loop network configuration (“collapsed ring” protection mechanism) and the impact on customers has been minimal. A second reason why the cut to EASSy did not have much impact on customers is because the vast majority of EASSy traffic exits Africa through Djibouti, and the cut happened to the north of Djibouti. EIG cable was also cut just north of Djibouti.

The severed cables caused severe slowdown in internet traffic and intermittent performance of links in East and Southern Africa. Countries affected include Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Chris Wood, the WIOCC chief executive has called the situation a very unusual one. WIOCC is the majority shareholder in EASSy, currently the single largest undersea cable on the shores of Africa. WIOCC and TEAMs have both indicated repairs will take up to three weeks.

In Zimbabwe, internet users and ISPs served by the country’s fixed line operator, TelOne, have been experiencing intermittent internet services since the EASSy cable broke. TelOne is part of the WIOCC consortium that has ownership in EASSy. Other internet providers using alterative international cables like SEACOM have however not been affected.

Our sources tell us Liquid Telecom and PowerTel, the other two international bandwidth resellers in Zimbabwe, have not been affected by the EASSy outage or the increased load on SEACOM due to traffic from the failed cables that’s been rerouted to it.

We have sent communication to TelOne to get the extent of disruption that the EASSy outage has caused but we’re yet to get the information.-TECH-ZIM

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