Damaged cables trigger internet disruption in Nigeria, 11 countries

Internet service in at least 12 African countries, including Nigeria, slowed down after undersea connection cables were damaged, according to Bloomberg.

The WACS and SAT3/WASC cable systems which connect many African countries to Europe are wired through the Atlantic Ocean. The disruption started on Wednesday night with a huge impact on mostly West African countries.

NetBlocks, a non-profit organisation that tracks internet shutdowns, said the outage knocked out connectivity in some of the countries affected and degraded the service in others. “A series of subsea cable outages have knocked out or degraded internet connectivity in several countries across Africa,” the organisation said on Twitter.

“Network data indicate at least two distinct sets of disruptions beginning Wednesday night, with high impact in West Africa; incident ongoing.”

Reuters quoted Openserve, a unit of South Africa’s biggest fixed-line telecommunications provider, as saying one of the cables was damaged near Libreville in Gabon while the second near Luanda, Angola’s capital.

It quoted an official of Vodacom Group Ltd., South Africa’s biggest mobile-network operator, as saying the cause of the damage has not been established. According to NetBlocks, some of the countries affected include South Africa, Ghana, Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Namibia and Cameroon.


MTN Nigeria wrote via its Twitter handle that the damage may have also disrupted the connectivity of its users. It apologised for any such disruption, and said its engineers are working to resolve the issue “as soon as possible.”

“We apologise if you have been experiencing slow data speeds or finding it difficult to access the internet at the moment,” it said via its Twitter handle.

“This is as a result of damage to the international undersea cable.” Cable

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