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Nigeria, others witness slow Internet speed as submarine cable cuts

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Subscribers, especially data customers may experience service disruptions, slow speeds, among other challenges as a result of damages to a submarine cable system on the Atlantic sea.

It was gathered that two submarine fibre-optic lines connecting Africa to the global network suffered some degrees of cuts.

This is coming barely two months after data services were disrupted as a result of fibre cut. 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.

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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.

According to technext.ng, 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.

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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.

In other for its over 65 million customers from experiencing service hitches, MTN Group is said to have rerouted its users’ traffic to the east coast cables.

Speaking on improving service quality, especially amidst the lockdown, among others, MTN Chief Corporate Services Officer, Tobechukwu Okigbo, said a surge in traffic would align with trends seen globally. “Fortunately, we have multiple layers of redundancy built into our networks and some headroom. The challenge is not knowing the extent or duration of the lockdown and while our infrastructure has enough capacity to deal with the uptick in demand for now, if the situation persists, it might lead to resource constraints.

“However, at the policy and regulatory level, conversations are on-going with regards to what more the industry can do. For instance, the NCC has already approved the sharing of resources between operators if and when necessary. We are optimistic that further conversations will drive an expansion of this approach to include other assets, allowing us to optimize the use of critical resources. This is a crucial element to managing whatever lies ahead.”

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