[Air-L] West Africa internet access hit by undersea cable damage

nativebuddha nativebuddha at gmail.com
Mon Aug 3 07:10:20 PDT 2009

of interest?


West Africa internet access hit by undersea cable damage

Serious damage has been caused to the 15,000-km undersea SAT-3 cable, which
has resulted in major disruption to West African internet access and
services, the BBC reports. Several countries, including Benin, Togo, Niger
and Nigeria, have all been hit hard. The cable itself runs between Europe
(Portugal and Spain) to South Africa, via West Africa. Ladi Okuneye, chief
marketing officer of Nigerian operator Suburban Telecom, noted that SAT-3 is
currently the only fibre-optic cable serving West Africa.

South African operator Telkom, one of the shareholders of SAT-3, has not
said what caused the problems but said it was aware of "a cable fault on the
Benin branch that is being investigated". Nigeria has been badly hit because
around 70 percent of its bandwidth is routed through neighbouring Benin. The
network, run by Suburban Telecom, was set up to bypass Nigeria's national
operator Nitel, which runs the SAT-3 branch cable which lands in Nigeria.

The SAT-3 consortium is in the process of sending a ship from Cape Town in
South Africa to the area to investigate the fault. Meanwhile, Benin has been
able to reroute its net traffic through neighbouring countries to get back
online. Okuneye said his company was hoping to do the same but said the
process would be slower because its bandwidth requirements were so much
larger than those of the small republic. Togo and Niger, which are not part
of the SAT-3 consortium, remain offline.

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