Internet disruption: Fixing damaged undersea cable may take weeks

This is as it disclosed that repairing its undersea submarine cables might take weeks.

It will take some time for full and regular Internet services to return to Nigeria and other West African countries, MainOne, a  digital infrastructure service provider in the region, has said.

On Thursday, subsea cable providers were affected by major cuts to undersea submarine cables owing to the alleged activities of houthis rebels in the red sea.

The development greatly hampered internet traffic in major parts of the continent with services of financial institutions and telecommunications companies in Nigeria disrupted.

An additional two to three weeks of transit time may be need for a vessel to pick up the spares of submarine cables and travel from Europe to West Africa, the company disclosed in a statement on Friday.

Speaking on the cause of the network outage, MainOne said preliminary findings and further investigations showed “the fault occurred due to an external incident that resulted in a cut on its submarine cable system, in the Atlantic Ocean offshore Cote D’Ivoire, along the coast of West Africa”.

“We have a maintenance agreement with Atlantic Cable Maintenance and Repair Agreement (ACMA) to provide repair services for the submarine cable,” the company said.

“First identify and assign a vessel, the vessel has to retrieve the necessary spares required for repair, and then sail to the fault location to conduct the repair work.

“Next, in order to complete the repair, the affected section of the submarine cable will have to be pulled from the seabed onto the ship where it will be spliced by skilled technicians.”

According to MainOne, after repair, joints will be inspected and tested for any defects and subsequently, the submarine cable will be lowered back to the seabed and placed in a good position.

“This process might take 1-2 weeks for repairs while about 2-3 weeks of transit time may be required for the vessel to pick up the spares and travel from Europe to West Africa once the vessel is mobilised,” MainOne said.

In another update on Friday, the company said it is working with cable systems not affected by the incident or previous outages to secure restoration capacity.

MainOne said its technical team is working relentlessly to restore services, subject to availability of capacity and service configuration specifics.

“We will also provide incremental updates on the root cause and efforts to repair the submarine cable as soon as those details become available,” the company said

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