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Internet impeded for 21 days after cable cut

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – Internet users are to experience slow connectivity speeds for about three weeks, following a confirmed fibre optic cable cut affecting The East African Marine System (TEAMS).

In a statement, TEAMS’ General Manager Joel Tanui says undersea cable maintenance company E-Marine will commence repair work on the damaged cable to reduce the downtime and its impact.

The cut occurred when a ship that was docking, dragged its anchor on the cable, four kilometres from the Mombasa landing station on Saturday, affecting a significant proportion of the international fibre capacity in and out of the country.

Mobile operators Airtel Kenya and Safaricom on Sunday announced that they are working to rectify the situation, by re-routing their Internet traffic to alternative capacities.

About eight data operators have been affected and have also been looking at redundant routes.

Safaricom Director of Corporate Affairs Nzioka Waita admitted on Sunday that their data customers were likely to continue experiencing service degradation for the next 24 hours as the firm re-routes internet traffic to alternative capacity in the SEACOM and EASSy cables.

“We expect that over the next 24 hours, between 80 and 90 percent of our traffic will be back at normal speeds,” he added.

Waita added that they are in talks with officials from TEAMS who anticipate that it might take more than seven days to fix the fault.

“From our discussions with TEAMS, we do expect that it (repairs) will take at the very minimum a week and a half but during that time we will have already made alternative arrangements,” he emphasised.

Voice, SMS and other services however remain unaffected as the firm activated its satellite link to provide its back -up capacity.

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Safaricom has a 19 percent capacity in TEAMS and has leased capacity in the privately funded SEACOM and EASSy as it seeks to become competitive in data services market.

According to statistics from the Communications Commission of Kenya, the operator is the market leader in the local data market, with 92 percent of all internet subscriptions in Kenya on Safaricom connected devices.

The company now provides fibre connectivity to 500 buildings.

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