15 February 2013

Tanzania: Submarine Cable Fault Causes Internet 'Blackout' in Dar es Salaam

TANZANIA faced a breakdown in Internet connections for the better part of Thursday afternoon after two submarine cables linking the country to the outside world experienced technical problems.

In an interview with the 'Daily News' on Thursday, the Acting CEO of the Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL), Dr Kamugisha Kazaura, said the hitches occurred at Alexandria in Egypt where the cables are connected to others linking the continent to Europe.

"Our two submarine cables Easy and Seacom are connected to other cables to Europe, the problem occurred in a stretch of eight kilometres off shore the city of Alexandria. "Easy was the first to experience the problem at about 1:30pm and it was followed by Seacom an hour later," Dr Kamugisha said in a telephone interview.

He was, however, optimistic that the problem would have been solved by yesterday evening. And in indeed, internet connection resumed after 6pm. Dr Kamugisha had hinted that if the hitches were not solved by yesterday evening other alternatives would be considered.

These would include re-routing the cables to South Africa or Asia. In order to safeguard from such occurrences in the future, he said the country is considering renewing a contract with other operators of another submarine cable Teams which is linked through the United Arab Emirates.

While most East African countries were affected by the Internet breakdown, Kenya was least affected as it uses the Teams, according to Dr Kamugisha. With a capacity of 1.2 gigabits per second, the submarine cables are almost 20 times superior to satellite connections which have a capacity of just 50 megabits per second (mbps).

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