Cable Cut: Telcos, Banks Reroute Traffic; Network Now Patchy

The recent outage in the undersea cable network that supplies internet connectivity to Nigeria and other West African countries has forced telecoms and financial companies to reroute their internet traffic to other providers.

While this has resulted in some disruption the firms are working to minimize the impact on customers.

The impairment of crucial submarine cables on Thursday triggered widespread network outages, hampering banks and telecommunication companies’ ability to provide uninterrupted communication and financial services to their clients.

Gbenga Abebayo, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, disclosed that prominent carriers have resorted to alternative providers, redirecting traffic in a bid to reinstate services.

Abebayo pointed out that while some providers have verified the reinstatement of services, others are still undergoing migration, causing delays and congestion.

However, the chairman gave his assurance that within the subsequent two to three days, services would be restored to their full capacity.

“A number of the landing cable operators in Nigeria have provided alternatives to the major carriers. We are aware that there is traffic routing to other providers. We are aware that services are being gradually restored. In the next couple of days, things will return to normalcy,” he said.

The ALTON chairman further explained that the process involved establishing new connections, propagation, and ensuring compatibility and reliability of the rerouted traffic.

“While some have confirmed full-service restoration, others are still in the process of migration, which naturally takes time. The traffic “highway” was temporarily closed, but it’s now reopened, and we’re witnessing a surge of users trying to resume their activities on the network,” Adebayo explained.

On Thursday, the telecom industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, in a statement by the Director, Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka, confirmed that the undersea cable cuts disrupted data and voice services along the West African coast.

Read also: Omokri To African Leaders: Address Red Sea Cable Vandalism

The affected operators, including West African Cable System and African Coast to Europe, along with SAT3 and MainOne, experienced downtime.

The regulator attributed the disruptions to incidents in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal, resulting in subsequent disruptions in Portugal.

According to the NCC, similar challenges along other undersea cable routes, such as Seacom, Europe India Gateway, and Asia-Africa-Europe 1, also experienced cuts.

Africa Today News, New York, has learned that dedicated telecom crews are on-site at the affected areas between Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire, diligently working to mend the damaged fiber optic cables connected to Europe and resume regular operations.

Among the major players in the industry, MTN Nigeria bore the brunt of the network disruption, given its extensive subscriber base for both voice and data services.

According to a senior source speaking to journalists, the operator reiterated its commitment to resolving the issue promptly and reinstating services to their usual state, although refraining from giving a specific timeframe for the restoration.

The fact that users could still access the internet, albeit with limitations, indicated the presence of redundancy measures, allowing the operator to reroute traffic to alternative pathways.

Currently, MTN can verify a cable cut at a depth of around 3,000 meters, with indications pointing to a geological incident, possibly a landslide, as disclosed by the source.

The source explained that while a cable cut disrupted the transfer of calls and data, the fact that some users remained connected underscored the effectiveness of those redundancy measures.

“Partnerships among cable companies ensure redundancy within the network, allowing for swift activation of alternative routes when such incidents occur.

“This incident has also impacted three other subsea cable systems in the area. Repair efforts are underway, with a cable ship mobilised for joint repair operations.

“MTN is actively addressing the situation to minimise any impact on our customers. In events like this, redundancy measures play a crucial role,” the source said.

Africa Today News, New York 

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