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Connectivity

Eassy, Seacom fiber cables repaired

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The Eastern African Submarine System (Eassy) and Seacom fiber-optic cables that went down in early May have finally been repaired.

The cable disruptions on Africa's east coast slowed connections and caused widespread Internet outages that impacted countries including Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Madagascar and Tanzania, making it the third major event affecting Internet cables in Africa since February 2024.

In March, another four cables were damaged when a suspected subsea seismic event occurred off the coast of Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire on the west coast of Africa, impacting Africa's Internet services.

Seacom Chief Digital Officer Prenesh Padayachee said in a statement today that the physical repair of the Seacom subsea cable was completed on May 31, 2024, and the process to restore and test individual client services was completed subsequently.

"In the wake of unfortunate disruptions to our service, we have moved swiftly to mitigate the impact of the fault and have worked around the clock to complete all necessary repairs to our infrastructure," Padayachee added.

In an email response to Connecting Africa, Wiocc Group, which is an investor in Eassy, said the cable was restored on May 23, 2024.

Internet Technologies Angola (ITA) co-founder and CEO and Paratus co-founder Rolf Mendelsohn posted on his LinkedIn account last week that both the Eassy and Seacom cable systems were being repaired, with the Leon Thevenin cable laying ship in position and working on repairs.

He said that, as of last Thursday, Eassy was up and running and posted pictures of the damaged cables.

The Eassy and Seacom cable disruptions were confirmed earlier this month by Liquid Intelligent Technologies Group CTIO Ben Roberts, who said the faults impacted Internet services in East Africa.

Other cables bring relief

To reduce the impact of the damage and improve speeds, Internet providers in East Africa rerouted traffic to other cables.

The Communications Authority of Kenya said in a statement at the time that The East Africa Marine System (TEAMS) cable, which was not affected by the cut, was being used for local traffic flow while redundancy on the South Africa route had been activated to minimize the impact.

Africa has been adding more subsea cable options in recent years, including Meta-backed 2Africa and Google's Equiano cable.

Earlier this month, Google announced plans for a second African undersea cable, Umoja, that will connect Africa to Australia.

The Umoja cable system route.   (Source: Google)
The Umoja cable system route.
(Source: Google)

"Anchored in Kenya, the Umoja cable route will pass through Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, including the Google Cloud region, before crossing the Indian Ocean to Australia," Google's statement said at the time.

Umoja's terrestrial path was built in collaboration with Liquid Intelligent Technologies across Africa and will form a scalable route through Africa, including access points that will allow other countries to take advantage of the network.

Together with Equiano, the new combined system will be known as Africa Connect.

The Equiano cable's $14 billion journey began in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2019 and has several stops along the western coast of Africa.

The cable has a landing in Melkbosstrand, South Africa, as well as in Swakopmund in Namibia. It runs through Togo, Nigeria and St Helena to connect Africa with Europe.

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*Top image is of damaged cables getting repaired. (Source: ITA co-founder and CEO and Paratus co-founder Rolf Mendelsohn)

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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