East Africa faces internet woes as undersea cable issues persist

Internet users in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda are voicing their frustration over poor connectivity as service providers across East Africa acknowledge the issue and pledge to resolve it.

Industry expert Ben Roberts explained to the BBC that the spotty service stemmed from faults in the undersea cables linking the region to the rest of the world via South Africa. A similar disruption occurred in parts of West and Southern Africa in March.

As of Monday, some East Africans are still experiencing sluggish internet speeds, with telecom companies indicating that the problem persists and urging patience from subscribers.

Social Media Response

Responding to concerned users, Airtel Kenya and Vodacom Tanzania reassured customers on social media that they were collaborating with undersea cable teams to address the issue.

Cloudflare Radar reported significant internet traffic drops in Tanzania, with the country among the worst-affected. Tanzania’s Citizen newspaper labeled the situation an “internet blackout,” impacting major network channels.

🛜 Yesterday night – regarding internet outage in East Africa
Kenya – restored 👏🏽
Tanzania – bado kabisa 😫

Shida iko wapi? Hatuko serious! Kenya wanajua maana ya digital economy na 💵
Sisi ni siasa tu!#TutaelewanaTu— Maria Sarungi Tsehai (@MariaSTsehai) May 13, 2024

On social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter), frustrated customers have been seeking answers from service providers. Airtel Kenya apologized for network issues, while Safaricom acknowledged experiencing challenges.

In Uganda, Airtel acknowledged intermittent internet service, and MTN Rwanda cited degradation of international links as the issue.

Impact on Internet Traffic

Cloudflare Radar also noted impacts in Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar.

Mr Roberts confirmed that the Eassy cable, running along East Africa’s coast, was cut near Durban, South Africa, along with another cable. He ruled out sabotage, attributing the incidents to unfortunate coincidences.

Widespread Outages in March

While alternative cables linking East Africa to Europe exist, the reliance on Eassy significantly affected service, especially for companies with data centres in South Africa.

March saw widespread outages in countries like South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana, attributed to cable failures, frustrating millions of customers across the continent.

Source: AfricanNews

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