Undersea Cables Fail, Knocking Out Internet Service to Africa

At least a dozen countries are affected by outages
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2024 7:15 PM CDT
Parts of Africa Lose Internet When Undersea Cables Fail
Undersea cables in the Mediterranean   (Getty/Sybille Reuter)

Several subsea cables failed Thursday, operators reported, cutting internet service to west and central Africa. Ivory Coast, for example, was reduced to about 4% connectivity in the morning, according to NetBlocks, a tracker. In Liberia, basic internet service and social media access were unavailable in most of the country, the BBC reports. International bank transfers were affected, and international voice calls were limited. "It seems like 50% of my life is gone today," said a resident of Monrovia, the capital.

There was no word on the cause of the cables' failures. At least a dozen countries have been affected, per the Guardian. Such outages have happened before. But "today's disruption points to something larger (and) this is amongst the most severe," said Isik Mater of NetBlocks, per the AP. The effects of the disruptions can snowball as networks try to reroute around the problem spots, Mater said, sometimes cutting the capacity available to other countries. Africa has a higher share of its internet traffic on mobile devices than any other continent, with businesses especially reliant. (More Internet infrastructure stories.)

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