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Slow internet speeds to persist – CA

About 99% of all intercontinental internet traffic goes over submarine cables. Though satellites are a great solution for edge connectivity onto the global internet, especially in locations that don't have easy access to physical infrastructure, they don't represent a significant amount of overall global capacity.

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By Steve UMIDHA

Internet users may have to contend with slow and wobbly internet speeds for “a few days before services are fully restored.”

In a statement today, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) said that recovery process was however, underway – further confirming that slow internet speeds witnessed since Sunday was as result of a “deep-sea fibre cut.”

The said cuts according to CA, had occurred on the Mtunzini teleport station, affecting a number of submarine cables serving Kenya, including Seacom and the East African Submarine System (Eassy).

“We wish to inform individual and corporate consumers that the recovery process has since commenced but Internet intermittency and slow speeds may remain in the coming few days before services are fully restored,” said CA in a statement Monday.

Slow internet speeds have been experienced in East and South Africa with internet users across the region grouchy about poor connectivity even as service providers across East Africa acknowledged “there has been a problem.”

Users of both fibre and mobile broadband have been confronting outages even as internet service providers (ISPs) servicing the East African region say they are working to minimise interruption as they await the full restoration of the cables.

It is believed that there are three cuts in three of the submarine cables powering the region’s connectivity, while another cable system is faulty.

Meanwhile, the Authority has directed service providers to take proactive steps to secure alternative routes for their traffic and is monitoring the situation closely to ensure that incoming and outbound internet connectivity is available.

Adding that, the East Africa Marine System (TEAMS) cable, which has not been affected by the cut, is currently being utilised for local traffic flow while redundancy on the South Africa route has been activated to minimize the impact.

While ruptures of undersea cables are not uncommon due to natural causes (excluding shark bites) like underwater earthquakes or human activities such as anchor damage, purposeful sabotage can have far-reaching effects on the global economy and communication networks.

In march this year for instance, a similar occurance was witnessed across many African countries like Ivory Coast which suffered the biggest impact of the cuts, followed by Liberia, Benin, Ghana and Burkina Faso. Less severe outages occured in Cameroon, Gabon, Namibia and Niger, and to a lesser extent in Nigeria and South Africa, according to the global internet surveillance group NetBlocks.

Most of the world’s internet traffic passes through the scores of fiber optic cables laid along seafloors, with one of the longest, at 15,000 kilometers (9,300 miles), stretching from Portugal to South Africa.

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