March 30th damage to the ACE cable has resulted in the disruption of internet
connectivity to The Gambia, along with several other connected countries, with
reported problems posted to social media over the next several days.
Some of the online posts indicated that the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable was cut near Noukachott, Mauritania, but did not provide any specific information about what severed the cable, The Point can reveal.
“ACE submarine cable was cut between Dakar and Nouakchott. The traffics are been restored by ACE consortium and internet should be okay for all service providers in Sierra Leone. Africell and Orange have their internet back completely. I cannot confirm that of Sierratel. For those of you that were browsing and felt there were no issues, understand that those telcos were forced to reroute temporarily,” a post from Salliafawudu in Freetown said.
Unusual disruptions in The Gambia were equally monitored. However, no explanation was given to the consumer population that were affected.
The cable runs along the west coast of Africa between France and South Africa, connecting 22 countries. It extends over 17,000 km and has a potential capacity of 5.12 Tbps, managed by a consortium of 19 telecommunications operators and administrations since December 2012.
“While it may not have been completely problem-free over the last 5+ years, online searches do not return any published reports of significant outages caused by damage to the cable, said David Belson, Senior Director, Internet Research & Analysis at ORACLE.
Of the 22 countries listed as having landing points for the ACE Submarine Cable, 10 had significant disruptions evident in Oracle’s Internet Intelligence data.
“The most significant, and longest-lasting disruption was seen in Mauritania, with a complete outage lasting for nearly 48 hours, followed by partial restoration of connectivity. Sierra Leone also saw a significant impact as a result of the cable cut, followed by a complete outage on April 1 (election day),” David Belson explained.
The differences in duration and severity he added, may be related to the other international internet connections, via terrestrial cable or satellite, that the providers in these countries have in place, resulting in varying levels of reliance on the ACE cable system.