Internet Disruption: Submarine Cable Repair May Take Two Weeks, Says MainOne

MainOne, a submarine cable firm, says it could take up to two weeks to fix the underwater cable cut that has disrupted internet services in Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, and other West and East African countries since Thursday.

The company stated the network disruption was caused by a problem on the MainOne network.

“Preliminary findings and further investigations revealed that the fault occurred due to an external incident that resulted in a cut on our submarine cable system, in the Atlantic Ocean offshore Cote D’Ivoire, along the coast of West Africa,” the company said in a statement.

Since Thursday, telephone subscribers and bank customers have been trapped as the outage has paralyzed digital transactions and internet communications. Mobile network operators such as MTN and certain banks blamed the network outage on a subsea cable cut in the Atlantic Ocean.

On how long the outage would persist, MainOne said, “We have a maintenance agreement with Atlantic Cable Maintenance and Repair Agreement (ACMA) to provide repair services for the submarine cable.

“First, locate and assign a vessel. The vessel must gather the necessary spares for repair and then sail to the fault location to do the repair job. To finish the repair, the injured part of the undersea cable must be removed from the seabed and spliced by expert personnel aboard the ship.

“After restoration, joints will be inspected and tested for flaws before the submarine cable is dropped to the seabed and directed to a suitable location. This process may take 1-2 weeks for repairs, while the vessel may require 2-3 weeks of transit time to pick up spares and travel from Europe to West Africa once mobilised.”

Regarding the potential cause of the sea outage, the business stated, “Most undersea cable faults arise as a result of human activities like as fishing and anchoring in shallow waters near shore, natural risks such as earthquakes and landslides, and then equipment failure.

“Given the distance from shore and the cable depth of around 3 kilometers at the moment of failure, any human activity – ship anchors, fishing, drilling, etc. – was instantly ruled out. Our first investigation suggests that seismic activity on the seabed caused the cable to break, but we will have more information when the cable is collected during the repair procedure.

In an update, the corporation stated that steps had been taken to mobilize a vessel to quickly repair the cable in the deep ocean.

Customers will have access to interim restoration capacity, according to MainOne. “We do have some pre-configured restoration capacity on other cable networks, but those cable systems are also temporarily down. We have since obtained capacity on available cable lines, but we have not found sufficient capacity to restore services to all of our clients.”

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