Major Internet Disruption Grips Parts of Africa as Undersea Cables Fail

Multiple African nations experienced significant internet disruptions on Thursday, March 14th, due to failures in crucial undersea telecommunication cables.

NetBlocks, an organization monitoring internet freedom, reported disruptions impacting at least ten West African countries.  These included Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Benin, Ghana, and Burkina Faso.  Nations like South Africa, Namibia, and Lesotho also faced intermittent connectivity issues.

The service disruptions stemmed from failures in multiple major undersea cables, including the West Africa Cable System (WACS), Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), SAT-3, and MainOne. 

Telecom operators like MTN Group and Vodacom acknowledged the issue and reported actively working to reroute traffic through alternative network paths to minimize downtime. “We apologize for the challenges you may be experiencing, with internet speed and accessing our apps at the moment. This is as a result of a damage to international undersea cables across East and West Africa.  The repair process is ongoing to resolve the situation, please look out for further updates” MTN communicated to its customers. 

Isik Mater, Director of Research at NetBlocks, stated that while network disruptions due to cable damage occur occasionally, “today’s disruption points to something larger (and) is amongst the most severe.” 

 The cause of the undersea cable failures and the estimated time for full restoration remain unclear at this time. 

This widespread internet outage can significantly impact various sectors in the affected countries, including communication, Business Operations and Financial Services

Disruptions to online communication channels like social media, email, and messaging services, hindered business activities that rely heavily on internet connectivity and potential disruptions to online banking and financial transactions.

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Authorities and network providers are yet to provide official statements regarding the cause of the undersea cable failures and the timeline for repairs. This story will be updated as further information becomes available.

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