The past two or three days have been marked by poor internet connections as reported by many people across various social media channels. The degraded services, as we have come to learn, have been caused by several submarine cable cuts in West Africa. Cable downtime has also been reported between Mombasa and Djibouti.
According to people who are well versed with the matter, traffic from West Africa is arriving in Europe through East African routes, thus the first-hand internet interruptions that have since been reported by customers in Kenya.
Several submarine cable cuts in West Africa and a cable downtime btwn Msa and Djibouti means some of Westafrican traffic is reaching Europe via East African routes. This is why many are saying internet in Kenya has been a bit slow in the last 2 days
— Tom Makau (@tommakau) January 17, 2020
Repairs and corrective measures take a while to go into effect considering the exercises are engaging. None of the undersea cable operators have acknowledged or given a timeline of when the issues will be fixed.
That aside, the availability of undersea cables in the continent has played a crucial role in cutting the costs of internet services. This was not the case a few years because the submarine cable market was a monopoly that was cannibalized by West African companies amidst an absence in East Africa.
However, investments from private companies and governments brought a needed change in the space. Ultimately, initial calls for regulated access were dropped.
Some of the prominent undersea organizations that serve Kenya include TEAMS that is primarily owned by the government, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya at 20 percent each, as well as SEACOM that is owned by several investors, including Kenya’s Industrial Promotion Services (Kenya) at 26.56 percent, South Africa’s Remgro Ltd at 25 percent and USA’s Herakles Telecom at 23%.
We are looking forward to timely repairs, which, as has been the case in the past, may be announced by organizations managing the cables.