Civil construction wipes out internet connectivity across Africa
Fri 22 Jan 2016
Submarine cable operator Seacom has today announced that civil construction activity in Egypt was the cause of widespread outages which left large parts of Africa without internet connectivity yesterday.
According to the firm, its Northern Trans-Egypt cable was damaged between Cairo and Alexandria, and the Southern Trans-Egypt route was also disrupted outside of Cairo.
The outages hit South Africa particularly hard, as the Seacom network connects the country to East Africa and Europe.
Adding to the interruption, Seacom’s backup route, the West Africa Cable System (WACS), was also down at the same time, leaving most African countries without connectivity.
Seacom’s submarine and terrestrial networks span across 17,000km, connecting Africa to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The system uses bundled backhaul, open access points of presence and global partnerships to run its end-to-end wholesale connectivity services for African network operators.
Having sent in repair teams to investigate the damage, the company released the following statement: “The Seacom terrestrial network was successfully repaired on the 21st January 2016 at 16:46 GMT. Seacom would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers, partners and peers for their collaboration and support during the outage.
“During the two hours and 40 minutes that Seacom experienced a dual failure across Egypt, we were able to route Internet traffic through India.”
However, it added that with the west coast also experiencing an outage at the same time, “international connectivity at many of these service providers failed or was degraded” while the faults in Egypt were being repaired.
Seacom had been in the news earlier in the week for its new partnership with network provider Ciena – a deal which promises to deliver improved reach and increased capacity for local providers.
Both companies will offer new solutions with a 100Gbps upgrade to African service providers, linking to main points of presence in Europe via undersea routes.