22 January 2018

Seychelles: Saturday in Seychelles and No Internet - Relief for Some, Frustration for Others

Facebook, email, Whatsapp, YouTube. The internet has become so intertwined with our lives, that a day without it can be a massive disruption.

Saturday was just that kind of day, as Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, saw its telecommunications go dark while work on the line the island nation relies on was carried out in Tanzania.

"An underling sense of relief," was how Seychelles resident Dominique Chetty saw the day. The 24-year-old Chetty, an accountant, uses Facebook frequently and experienced the outage from early morning on Saturday to 4 in the afternoon.

"I thought that I couldn't live a day without internet," he said. But on Saturday, he did. "I was finally being forced to enjoy my own company and there was something intrinsically nice about it," said Chetty.

Life without Facebook is good for a change sometimes, he said, and he suggested Seychelles should observe a day without internet from time to time as it is slowly replacing face-to-face communication.

Others missed not having their normal routines. An internet subscriber with Cable & Wireless TV channels, Robert Alphonse said that he there are channels he watches every day.

"Frankly it was quite annoying to miss it out due to no internet. Internet providers should provide alternative or have a backup plan in such situation," said Alphonse, a 50-year-old mechanic.

"Today, nearly everything is done by Internet; therefore I think people cannot dispense with it," he added.

Julia Delpeche, who works as a purchasing manager for a wholesale company - Island Style -- told SNA that it was practically impossible to work without internet.

"Nowadays, the internet is part of our everyday life, and our world, practically everything we do from the most simple of things, like making a meal requires technology," she said.

Delpeche said that it would have been more difficult to work if it was on a Monday as she depends a lot on the internet to send emails and correspond with suppliers.

The internet outage also affected credit card users.

Alain Ernesta, aged 45, said that he went shopping on Saturday and was going to swipe his credit, but found out he couldn't as the internet was not working. "I had to return most the things in my shopping bag," he said.

The installation of the submarine fibre optic cable under the Seychelles East Africa System project took place in 2012, linking the island nation to a landing station in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Cable & Wireless Seychelles and Airtel Seychelles along with the Seychelles government are the three shareholders that have contributed towards the financing of the Seychelles Fibre Optic Cable system.


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