More internet outages in Africa due to subsea cable breaks

Major internet disruptions hit East Africa on Sunday as two crucial submarine cables went offline. These cables, Eassy and Seacom, run along Africa’s eastern coast and connect the region to South Africa.

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The cause of the outages remains unclear, but initial reports suggest a potential undersea event similar to one that disrupted cables off West Africa in March. Repair efforts are underway, with a cable repair ship expected to reach the Eassy fault site by Tuesday.

The outages have caused significant internet disruptions in East African nations, including Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and Madagascar.  Social media reports indicate near-complete internet blackouts in some areas, impacting both mobile and fixed-broadband users across major networks like Safaricom and Telkom Kenya.

South Africa, thankfully, seems largely unaffected due to its reliance on west coast cable systems like Equiano and Wacs. Additionally, existing damage to Red Sea cables had already rerouted east coast traffic westward.

Wiocc, an investor in the Eassy cable, has confirmed a break between South Africa and Mozambique. A repair ship has been dispatched from Cape Town and is expected to reach the site within three days.  Repair times will depend on weather, sea conditions, and the extent of the damage.

Seacom, the other affected cable system, also reports outages impacting key locations like Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Mtunzini, and Maputo. Their technical teams are working on restoring service, with some South African traffic already being rerouted via west coast cables.

While repairs are underway, East Africa faces an uncertain wait for full internet restoration. This latest outage highlights the region’s vulnerability to subsea cable disruptions and the importance of maintaining these critical infrastructure links.