Tech n' Biz

Undersea Cable Damage Causes Internet Disruption in West Africa

Reports on Significant Impact on Connectivity in the Region.

Internet watchdog, NetBlocks, has stated that internet connectivity disruption in eight West African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Benin Republic on Thursday, was a result of undersea cable damage.

NetBlocks is a watchdog organization that monitors cybersecurity and the governance of the Internet. The service was launched in 2017 to monitor Internet freedom.

In a post, NetBlocks said, “Live network data show today’s telecoms disruption in #Africa has intensified; the incident has a high impact on West Africa with significant reductions in connectivity evident across the continent; operators report multiple subsea cable failures.”

Earlier, it posted, “Confirmed: Live network data show a major disruption to internet connectivity in and around West and Central #Africa; the incident affects networks supplying telecoms via subsea cables to multiple countries and operators.”

According to one of the world’s leading financial news organizations, Bloomberg, the West Africa Cable System, MainOne, and ACE sea cables — arteries for telecommunications data — were all affected on Thursday.

MTN Nigeria, in a post on its X handle, confirmed the internet disruption. It explained that the network outage experienced by its subscribers was a “result of damage to international undersea cables across East & West Africa.”

“The repair process is ongoing to resolve the situation as soon as possible. Please look out for further updates,” MTN Nigeria said.

The National Communications Authority in Ghana has revealed that multiple undersea cable disruptions have led to an outage of internet services in the country.

According to a statement from the Authority, the disruptions affecting multiple undersea cables responsible for carrying international traffic have occurred in Senegal and Cote D’Ivoire, with some disruptions in Portugal. This has led to a significant degradation of data services across the country.

“It is important to note that the Mobile Network Operators have redundancies on other cables and are working around the clock to restore full services. In addition, the MNOs have informed affected customers of the disruptions via various channels.”

Some Ghanaians have taken to social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to express their displeasure with the situation, which had started in the morning.

An X user, George Koranteng, asked, “Is it my area or the whole Ghana MTN internet is down?”

Another user, Koho Khan, tweeted, “I legit can’t do any work today because I got no internet. Legit nothing is working. Lol Ghana.”

In a message from MTN Ghana to their customers at 1 pm Ghanaian time, the telecoms provider apologized and said, “This is due to a disruption on our international undersea cables. Our technical teams are working with our international partners to resolve the issue. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and will keep you updated.”

The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications also issued a statement signed by one Louise Bobbie Osei, notifying users of the outage which it said affected internet, data, and Voice over IP services of the “Chamber, the Mobile Network Operators, and the Data Service Providers to varying degrees. As a result, customers and subscribers are currently experiencing service challenges.”