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Undersea Cable Cut Disrupts Internet Across East Africa

INTERNET services across East Africa and South Africa faced disruptions on Sunday following a significant undersea fibre-optic cable cut, leading to slowed connections and widespread outages in the region. Network providers, including major player Safaricom, rushed to restore service by activating backup systems, but users reported experiencing significantly reduced speeds.

Acknowledging the outage, Safaricom assured customers of its efforts to minimize disruptions and maintain connectivity while awaiting full restoration of the cable.

‘We have experienced an outage on one of the undersea cables that deliver internet traffic in and out of the country,’ Safaricom stated in a notice. ‘We have since activated redundancy measures to minimise service interruption and keep you connected as we await the full restoration of the cable.’


Ben Roberts, chief technology and innovation officer at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, confirmed faults in both the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) and the Seacom cables, effectively severing all sub-sea capacity between East Africa and South Africa. He also reported unrepaired cuts in three additional submarine cables in the Red Sea, exacerbating the outage.

The outage impacted major internet service providers across the region, including Airtel and MTN. Users in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar reported disruptions, highlighting the vulnerability of the region’s internet infrastructure heavily reliant on undersea cables.

Roberts dismissed sabotage as the cause, attributing the incident to an unfortunate coincidence. While alternative cables connecting East Africa to Europe could gradually restore service through rerouting data, the loss of the vital EASSy link to data centres in South Africa would have a significant impact.

This marks the second major internet outage in Africa in recent months, following a similar incident in March 2024. The recurring disruptions underscore the internet’s dependence on submarine cables, responsible for carrying over 90 percent of intercontinental data traffic.

Efforts are underway to repair the damaged cables and fully restore internet connectivity in the region, emphasising the critical role of reliable infrastructure in maintaining digital connectivity across Africa.

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