Internet connectivity in most parts of Zimbabwe has slowed down in the past five days due to the severing of cables by ship anchors between Egypt and Marseilles, France.
According to Limbikani Makani of TechZimbabwe, Africa’s largest internet service providers SEACOM and ESSAy are in the process of linking to some expensive cables to improve internet services in the country.
Makani said local service providers – TelOne, Liquid Telcom and Africom - are also trying to find alternative internet linkages.
In a statement posted on its website, SEACOM said it has completed the restoration of the majority of its customers on its cable system link that was cut between Egypt and Europe.
“There still remain a handful of customers that SEACOM is continuing to put up on alternative paths across the Mediterranean Sea this morning. It is estimated that these last customers will be up on restoration services very soon.
“To implement this restoration, the SEACOM team had to identify, negotiate and sign contracts to establish multiple paths across the Mediterranean on cable systems that were unaffected by the recent cable cuts,” said SEACOM.
Additionally, it said, once these routing paths were chosen, cross connects at the Egypt and Marseille terminals had to be manually coupled by teams deployed at both sites.
Claes Segelberg of SEACOM said: “SEACOM activated a huge amount of manually-restored capacity on alternative paths in a short time frame. We have also managed to assist in restoring services on other East Africa cable systems that are also down due to the same cable cut incident on a different subsea cable in the Mediterranean.
“We did this as an act of good faith and to ensure that customers in Eastern Africa see services returning to normal as quickly as possible.”
He further said the SEACOM subsea cable cut in the Mediterranean is being investigated to understand the root cause of the outage.
“Ships are being sent to the area to bring up the cable and implement repairs. SEACOM will keep its customers updated on these activities, while ensuring that customers are up on the restoration path capacity until such time as all repairs to the cable have been completed”.
Some Zimbabweans use the internet for conducting business transactions and accessing social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and several others.
Siphambaniso Moyo of Ilala Lodge in Victoria Falls said Internet outage in the resort town is seriously affecting businesses.
"We are having serious problems here in terms of internet connectivity. Potential guests cannot even manage to use the internet to make their bookings. This is disastrous," said Moyo.
The SEACOM submarine fibre optic network system was launched in July 2009. The cable network directly connects South Africa and Eastern Africa with Europe and Southern Asia, covering a distance of over 17 000 kilometers worth of fibre optic technology.