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Mainone provides details of internet disruption across Africa, says full internet restoration to take weeks

Mainone provides details of internet disruption across Africa, says full internet restoration to take weeks


The repair of the undersea cable cut that has affected internet services in Nigeria and many parts of sub-Saharan Africa may take about five weeks to be completed, MainOne said in a Friday statement.

MainOne, whose facilities provide internet services to many parts of western and southern Africa, also provided details of the undersea cable cut and its efforts to repair it.


In the statement on its website, the company said its “MainOne submarine cable carries a significant portion of the international traffic into West Africa and provides services to multiple countries hence the magnitude of the impact.”

closeLogoThe company said it has a maintenance agreement with the “Atlantic Cable Maintenance and Repair Agreement (ACMA) to provide repair services for the submarine cable.”

According to the service provider, the steps to be taken include first identifying and assigning a vessel to retrieve the necessary spares required for repair and then sailing to the fault location to conduct the repair work.


It said that the next step to complete the repair involved the affected section of the submarine cable being pulled from the seabed onto the ship where skilled technicians would splice it.

It said that post repair, joints would be inspected and tested for any defects and then the submarine cable lowered back to the seabed and guided to a good position.

The data company also refuted claims that the disruptions may have been caused by humans or armed groups.

It said most submarine cable faults occur as a result of human activities such as fishing and anchoring in shallow waters near shore, natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, and then equipment failure.


“Given the distance from land, and the cable depth of about 3 kms at the point of fault, any kind of human activity – ship anchors, fishing, drilling etc has been immediately ruled out.

“Our preliminary analysis would suggest some form of seismic activity on the seabed resulted in a break to the cable, but we will obtain more data when the cable is retrieved during the repair exercise,” the company said.

MainOne, a digital infrastructure service provider, also declared a force majeure, which absolves it of contractual obligations to its customers in certain circumstances.


It said that commercial contracts typically included such a force majeure clause which enabled service providers to suspend contractual obligations for the duration of such disruptions.

A force majeure is an unforeseeable circumstance that prevents someone from fulfilling a contract.

Many Nigerians including telecommunications companies and banks were on Thursday hit by an internet outage as a result of damage to international undersea cables supplying them with connectivity.

According to the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), the damage affects major undersea cables near Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire and is causing downtime across West and South African countries.

The NCC said that the cuts occurred somewhere in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal, with an attendant disruption in Portugal.

In its statement, Mainone said it was working to restore services to as many of its customers as possible and to complete the repairs to the cable system as planned.

It said that the cable cut had disrupted international services on its cable south of the landing in Senegal, resulting in the outage of internet services for the majority of its customers.

The statement added that MainOne had some restoration agreements with other operators to mitigate service disruptions, but unfortunately, those cable systems were also impacted by outages at this time.

“It is believed that MainOne submarine cable carries a significant portion of the international traffic into West Africa and provides services to multiple countries hence the magnitude of the impact.

“We are actively restoring services to the extent possible and mobilising a vessel for repairs and will update once there are more details,” it said.

The statement added that MainOne cable are very well protected as could be seen from the number of incidences on its cable system since its inception in 2010.

NetBlocks, a global internet monitoring organisation, which released its preliminary report yesterday, disclosed that out of the 13 affected countries, Cote d’ Ivoire was the worst hit, which led to severe internet disruptions that brought the country’s internet connectivity to as low as four per cent.

According to the report, Liberia, Benin Republic, Ghana and Burkina Faso suffered high internet impact that brought their internet connectivity to 20 per cent, 14 per cent, 25 per cent and 38 per cent respectively.

The report stated that countries like Togo, Cameroon, Gabon, Namibia and Niger, suffered medium internet impact that brought their internet connectivity to 42 per cent, 58 per cent, 55 per cent, 55 per cent and 69 per cent respectively.

It however stated that countries like Nigeria, Lesotho and South Africa, had low internet impact and businesses were mildly affected. While Nigeria had 72 per cent connectivity, Lesotho had 74 per cent internet connectivity, and South Africa had 82 per cent internet connectivity after the cable cut, according to the report.

Premium Times/ThisDay


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