28 July 2009

Nigeria: 'Fibre Cable Cut Affects 70 Percent of Country's Internet Capacity'

Lagos — About 70 per cent of Nigeria's internet capacity has been disrupted following a reported damage on one of the landing cables of the SAT3 submarine cable system

This distruption has since caused "temporary setback" to the nation's data market.

The resulting network outage (which is already being felt by a large number of internet subscribers in the country) is expected to last about 10 days, according to Suburban Telecoms, the nations primary internet capacity supplier.

In a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Suburban West Africa, Mr. Anil Verma, however said: "this is only a temporary setback. Once the cable is restored, we will continue with our efforts of making available more internet bandwidth in Nigeria at a reasonable cost, as we have been doing over the last few years. It is unfortunate that the SAT3 submarine cable is currently the only active cable system available to West Africa.

"While we have built redundancy on the terrestrial leg of our fibre optic network that delivers services to customers, there is vulnerability on the landing cable deployed into each country. Our network is currently routed into Nigeria through the Benin Republic, which is the landing station we are connected to. In the eight years the SAT3 service has been available, this is the first time there has been an outage on the Benin landing cable.

"There have been outages on the actual SAT3 submarine cable itself, but not the Benin landing cable. The SAT3 cable is built with redundancy, which is why there has been minimal downtime in other outages, but with this outage being on an isolated landing cable, we will have to wait for the SAT3 consortium to send one of their cable maintenance ships to Benin to fix the problem. This is expected to take approximately 10 days."

On his part, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Suburban Telecoms, Mr. Bruce Ayonote, said the company intends leverage as many different infrastructure options including the Glo1 and MainOne projects, in order to provide quality and high-availability services to its customers.

"Providing connectivity solutions is all about redundancy at multiple levels. Once there are more submarine cables available, there will be more landing stations. With the distribution networks we have already deployed into different markets, we will be able to offer higher availability services to our customers with less disruption of services," he said.

Suburban has been on the forefront of increasing the internet capacity available in Nigeria through a partnership agreement with Benin Telecoms, a member of the SAT3 submarine cable consortium. The partnership resulted in Suburban deploying a redundant terrestrial fiber optic network in the Republic of Benin, in order to connect into the cable system there.

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