Safaricom suffers cable cuts

January 20, 2011
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, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 20 – Mobile operator Safaricom has reported major cuts to its fibre optic network that has led to outage of services for customers in parts of Central, Western and Eastern regions.

Safaricom says the cuts to its fibre infrastructure occurred on Mombasa Road and Thika region but it is not yet clear whether they were acts of vandalism.

Safaricom Chief Executive Bob Collymore said the cuts had degraded the quality of voice and data services in certain parts of the three regions with subscribers experiencing challenges in making and receiving calls on their mobile handsets.

Also affected were M-PESA, top-up, short message and other services.

Mr Collymore said the firm had deployed a maintenance team to the affected areas, assuring customers that normal services would be back up soon.

"We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this has caused to our customers and assure them our fibre maintenance teams are on the ground working on the affected areas to restore the services in the shortest time possible," Mr Collymore said.

Over the last two years, a number of mobile operators and Internet service providers have reported increased cases of cable cuts to their networks raising suspicion of vandalism.

The government is currently working on amending the law around fibre optic vandalism  to fall under the Anti-corruption and Economics Crimes Act where offenders could face life imprisonment if convicted and a fine of Sh1 million to deter the cuts.

In November, Safaricom reported four cable cuts on Thika Road that led to major down time in the operators operations.

"We wish to reassure our customers that we are doing our utmost to ensure a reliable service on our network. We also continue to engage stakeholders with a view to limiting cable cuts to avert interruptions in service delivery," Mr Collymore said.

Telkom Kenya, which has been a major casualty of fibre cuts, is reported to have spent an estimated Sh2.5 billion in downtime and replacing cut links.

 

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