Widespread Internet Disruption in East Africa Due to Submarine Cable Failures



If you’ve been toggling your router on and off to troubleshoot your Wi-Fi issues, don’t fret. The problem isn’t with your ISP. According to Ben Roberts, Group CTIO at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, the Internet connection in East Africa is experiencing severe impairment. He stated that all sub-sea capacity between East Africa and South Africa is currently offline due to confirmed faults in the EASSy cable and an observed fault in the Seacom cable, both occurring simultaneously. Additionally, three cable cuts in the Red Sea (Seacom, EIG, AAE1) have not yet been repaired, exacerbating the situation.

Nearly two months following the widespread Internet outage on March 14, 2024, which notably impacted Africa, Cloudflare emphasized the Internet’s reliance on submarine cables. According to Cloudflare, the incident underscored the critical role of these cables, which handle over 90% of intercontinental data traffic.

Contrary to common belief, satellite networks only account for a small portion of general Internet usage. Presently, there are 529 operational submarine cables with 1,444 landings active or in progress, spanning approximately 1.3 million kilometers worldwide.

Connecting Kenya to South Africa is crucial for accessing hyperscale cloud services in the region, as emphasized by Roberts. Major players like AWS, Microsoft, Google, and Oracle have all committed to launching public cloud services there. While the current connectivity issue is being addressed, the recent damage to undersea cables underscores their significance for internet access and the digital economy, highlighting the necessity for diversification.



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