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Submarine cable failure affects Benin, Togo, Niger

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Eric Johnston
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Jul 30th, 2009 at 10:24pm  
News: 30 July 2009  Submarine cable failure affects Benin, Togo, Niger and Nigeria.

The Benin branch (7) off the SAT-3 cable which runs along the coast from Europe to South Africa has failed and it is expected to take at least a couple of weeks for a boat to get it to fix it.

Benin is directly affected but has been able to reroute much of its traffic.  Togo and Niger, to the west and north, are seriously affected.

...

Nigeria is suprisingly also seriously affected since about 70% of Nigeria's traffic goes via the Benin branch (7) via Suburban Telecom.  The Nigeria branch ( 8 ) off the SAT-3 cable is apparantly working normally, but only about 30% of Nigeria's traffic goes via this branch via Nitel.

Can anyone in these countries confirm the story and say how it is affecting you..

Best regards, Eric.
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Eric Johnston
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Reply #1 - Aug 18th, 2009 at 1:46pm  
18 August 2009 09:49   West Africa net service restored

A cable fault that caused a major blackout of internet services across West Africa has been repaired. The damage was discovered 25km (15 miles) off the coast of Benin on a branch of the SAT-3 cable, which connects Europe to South Africa.

The fault knocked out 70% of Nigeria's bandwidth, causing severe problems for its banking sector, government and mobile phone networks.  Services were severely disrupted or knocked out in Togo, Niger and Benin.

Countries had to either reroute traffic overland or use expensive satellite links to maintain connectivity.  Nigeria was particularly badly hit because around 70% of its bandwidth is routed through neighbouring Benin.

The network, run by Suburban Telecom, was set up to bypass Nigeria's principal telecoms operator Nitel which runs the SAT-3 branch cable which lands in Nigeria.  The SAT-3 consortium diverted a ship from Cape Town in South Africa to repair the fault. It arrived in Cotonou in Benin late Saturday evening and carried out repairs on Sunday morning.

The cause of the fault has not been revealed.

SAT-3 is currently the only fibre optic cable serving West Africa.

The 15,000km (9,300mile) SAT-3 cable lands in eight West African countries as it winds its way between Europe and South Africa.

Two new cables are planned for the area. The Main One cable is expected to be completed in 2010 whilst the West Africa Cable System (WACS) is due in 2011.

Best regards, Eric.
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Oasis Networks
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Reply #2 - Aug 19th, 2009 at 11:01am  
Well I think the cause of the fault on SAT3 is that, and sorry for choosing those words, is that SAT3 is a piece of c**p. A submarine system that breaks down twice a month (and eact time for couple of weeks Wink ) is really providing more headache than proper bandwidth for the west coast of Africa. Capacity over satellite has its limitations, but comparing to SAT3, at least it is reliable.

Untill the other fibers will be present and mutual restoration agreements between the fibers will be achieved, my suggestion for companies looking for stable capacity is to keep at least a back-up VSAT.
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Eric Johnston
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Reply #3 - Aug 19th, 2009 at 11:51am  
It is interesting that they did not disclose the cause of the fault, which occurred 25km off the coast on the Benin branch of the SAT3 cable.

Cable faults are often caused by the dragging of ships anchors, particularly if the cable has not been buried under the seabed on the shallow continental shelf. 

Does anyone know the sea depth 25km off Benin ?

Best regards, Eric.
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Oasis Networks
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Reply #4 - Aug 19th, 2009 at 3:04pm  
another issue is that during this period also many networks (GSM, banks and more) in Angola where affected. Could it be that Angola was affected from the cut as well?
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