Africans to Suffer Slow Internet Service Due to Undersea Cable Damage Amid Calls for Reduction in Data Prices


Internet subscribers across Africa, including Nigeria, might be experiencing slow internet speeds after cable damage to two submarine fibre-optic lines connecting Africa to the global network.

The West Africa Cable System (WACS), which carries data between the UK and the west coast of Africa is said to have suffered damage on Saturday. This alongside a second break along the South Atlantic Telecommunications (SAT-3) has led to slow internet for many users.

This comes at a time when many citizens are staying/working at home following lockdown directives by various African governments to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Following the cable damage, internet connectivity and communication channels in some parts of the continent may have been affected.

Africans to Suffer Slow Internet Due to Undersea Cable Damage
Source: BusinessInsider

The fault in the cables, however, seem to recur as the spot for the new break is said to be the same spot that broke in January following a short circuit.

The cable damage in January affected several telcos across Africa, including Nigeria’s biggest telco, MTN. This time, however, South Africa seems to be the most affected on the continent.

Both systems, WACS and SAT3/WASC, land in South Africa at Yzerfontein, Western Cape, and Melkbosstrand, Western Cape.

There could also be slowdowns or disruptions in other African countries like Nigeria, Namibia, Angola, DR Congo and Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire as the WACS cable also serves these territories. As such, internet subscribers in these areas might experience reduced speeds on international browsing, and international voice calling and mobile roaming.

Most telcos are already rerouting their customers to alternative routes to ensure the uninterrupted supply of internet services. One of such is MTN Group which has rerouted its users’ traffic to the east coast cables.

Businesses/users running any networks connected to the faulty systems will continue to experience slow internet processes until faults have been rectified. According to reports, this will begin on Thursday, April 2 and internet could be back to normal by Saturday, April 4.

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