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James Byaruhanga Confident Internet Will Be Fully Stable by Sunday

"I think by Sunday we shall be able to utilize the internet how we used to," said James Byaruhanga.

Internet service providers across East Africa acknowledged that the region was experiencing slow/intermittent internet following users’ outcries. The patchy service was a result of faults in the under-sea cables that connect the region to the rest of the world through South Africa.

Ben Roberts, Group CTIO at Liquid Intelligent Technologies confirmed the disruption. In a post he made of X (formerly known as Twitter), said, “Internet to East Africa is severely impaired. All sub-sea capacity between East Africa and South Africa is down. EASSy Cable — Fault confirmed. Seacom cable —observing faults occurred at the same time. 3 cable cuts in Red Sea (Seacom, EIG, AAE1) remain unrepaired.”

On Sunday Morning, May 12th, 2024 at about 10:30 hours EST (5:30 AM EAT) a cable that runs alongside the coast of East Africa, known as EASSy, had been cut some 45km (28 miles) north of the South African port city of Durban. Roberts who confirmed this and ruled out the idea that it could be sabotaged said it was rather an unhappy coincidence.

While the cause remains unclear, gradually the service improved as data was re-routed to Asia.

The disruption didn’t only affect the users but also the providers. While speaking to NBS, Rebecca Mukite, Head of Public and International Relations at the Uganda Communication Commission said, “There has been disruption of service and consumers need to understand that this is frustrating to the telcos and providers as well.” She added, “Consumers need to know that whereas there’s connectivity interference with their telecom companies, these infrastructures that supply the network do not belong to these telecom companies, it is tied infrastructure, it is shared infrastructure internationally —and so not all the repairing parameters are within their control.”

James Byaruhanga, Managing Director of Roke Cloud while also speaking to NBS said, “The internet has just been degraded, and this is because we have fallen back to the backup cables like the teams’ cables which go to Fujairah in Dubai but the biggest saving line right now is the peace cable that is going to Asia. So we are accessing the internet by routing to China and then to the global internet.”

While the internet is being routed, the service providers for the 3 cable cuts in the Red Sea (Seacom, EIG, AAE1) still have to be fixed. This could take a while. Rajesh Agrawal, Airtel Uganda Networks Director told PC Tech Magazine, “Fiber cut restoration may take 1 to 2 weeks as submarine cable restoration takes lots of efforts and resources on logistics and technology part.” He added, “This situation of Internet capacity through submarine cable systems is already very difficult given many other submarine cuts which happened earlier in March have not yet been restored.”

Mukite didn’t comment on how long it would take to restore the damage.

Byaruhanga on the other hand said, “Fixing that kind of double cut is most likely to take 2 to 3 days —and the re-routing would take another one day.” “I think by Sunday we shall be able to utilize the internet how we used to.”

At the moment the networks seem to have stabilized.

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