Undersea cable damage disrupts internet access in Nigeria


africa_internet.jpgRecent damage to the SAT-3 submarine cable that links Nigeria to the outside world has disrupted Internet and other services in the country.

The damaged SAT-3 undersea cable runs from Portugal and Spain to South Africa, via West Africa.

The resulting network outage (which is already being felt by a large number of internet subscribers in the country) is expected to last about 10 days, according to Suburban Telecoms, the nations primary internet capacity supplier.

In a statement made available to THISDAY news papers yesterday, Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Suburban West Africa, Mr. Anil Verma, however said: “this is only a temporary setback. Once the cable is restored, we will continue with our efforts of making available more internet bandwidth in Nigeria at a reasonable cost, as we have been doing over the last few years. It is unfortunate that the SAT3 submarine cable is currently the only active cable system available to West Africa.
‘’While we have built redundancy on the terrestrial leg of our fibre optic network that delivers services to customers, there is vulnerability on the landing cable deployed into each country. Our network is currently routed into Nigeria through the Benin Republic, which is the landing station we are connected to. In the eight years the SAT3 service has been available, this is the first time there has been an outage on the Benin landing cable.
‘’There have been outages on the actual SAT3 submarine cable itself, but not the Benin landing cable. The SAT3 cable is built with redundancy, which is why there has been minimal downtime in other outages, but with this outage being on an isolated landing cable, we will have to wait for the SAT3 consortium to send one of their cable maintenance ships to Benin to fix the problem. This is expected to take approximately 10 days.”
On his part, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Suburban Telecoms, Mr. Bruce Ayonote, said the company intends leverage as many different infrastructure options including the Glo1 and MainOne projects, in order to provide quality and high-availability services to its customers.
“Providing connectivity solutions is all about redundancy at multiple levels. Once there are more submarine cables available, there will be more landing stations. With the distribution networks we have already deployed into different markets, we will be able to offer higher availability services to our customers with less disruption of services,” he said.

Mobile service provider MTN Nigeria, is also experiencing challenges with access to international bandwidth, leading to service disruption to some of its international and data / internet based services as a result of damage to SAT3.