Sunday, February 26, 2012

Submarine cable cut cripples Kenya's Internet

While details surrounding the circumstances and exact time that the
TEAMs cable got damaged are as yet unclear, the incident has severely
affected Internet services in Kenya and neighboring countries.

The East African Marine Systems - commonly known as TEAMs was a
project initiated by the Kenyan government and implemented as a public
private partnership consisting mostly of Kenyan network operators. The
1.3 Terabit system, which launched with a lit capacity of 120 Gigabits
has completely transformed the quality and performance of Internet
services in the sub-region.

It seems that the cable cut occurred at some point around mid-day on
Saturday the 25th of February and was noticeable via most mobile
operators and Internet service providers' services being unavailable.
Immediate efforts to seek backup services from SEACOM, another
submarine cable that serves the region as well as backup satellite
connections resulted in partial restoration of services, although for
some Internet customers these came as late as Sunday morning.

It is reported that the cable cut has occurred about 4 kilometers into
the ocean on the Kenyan side. The cable which links Kenya's coastal
city of Mombasa to Fujairah in the Middle East, interconnects with a
variety of other International submarine cable systems to link
Africa's eastern seaboard to the rest of the world.

This first major incident will be a true test of the fault response
and repair capabilities of Alcatel, the organization that holds the
maintenance and support contract for TEAMs.

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