East African internet users experienced reduced speeds on Tuesday after ships’ anchors severed two undersea fiber optic cables off the coast. The companies involved on Tuesday said repairs could take up to two weeks.
The cables operated by Teams, a company partly owned by the Kenyan government, were cut on Saturday near the Kenyan port of Mombasa by a ship’s anchor. Eleven days earlier, another ship dragging its anchor cut the cables of Eassy, a consortium of telecommunications companies.
“Eassy suffered a cut on 17 February in the Red Sea,” Chris Wood, West Indian Ocean Cable Co CEO, the largest investor in Eassy, told reporters on Tuesday.
“That cut didn’t materially affect any traffic… however, in the same incident, two other cables were cut, and they carry a lot of traffic,” he added.
Wood said that most traffic had been re-routed through South Africa, and that ships were being mobilized to repair the cables. Repair time on the cables would be 15 to 20 days, he said. Local internet companies have re-routed their traffic through another cable operated by the privately owned Seacom, which said its services were operating normally.