EASSy cable restores service in Somalia following outage

The East African Sub-Marine System (EASSy) has restored services in Mogadishu and surrounding areas within Somalia after a network outage experienced the previous weekend.

On Sunday, 26 July 2020 at 07:38 UTC, a shunt fault occurred on the EASSy subsea cable along the Somali segment of the cable, affecting all traffic originating and terminating in Mogadishu as well as some traffic passing through on the EASSy system. As a result, Somalia’s internet and international voice traffic was cut off.

(TOP: Technicians working on a section of the EASSy cable). 

A shunt fault occurs when the cable insulation becomes damaged. This can lead to a short circuit from the metallic, power-carrying core of the cable directly to the seawater. Such damage could result from a number of causes including ship anchors, trawler nets, dredgers or currents dragging the cable along the sea floor. It could also result from geological activity such as rockfalls or earthquakes.

“At this stage, is has not been possible to determine what exactly caused the damage resulting in this shunt fault,” said the firm in a statement issued on August 5, 2020.

Following the outage, Dalkom Somalia, the EASSy landing party in Somalia, immediately initiated investigations to determine the cause and location of the outage. The shunt fault was identified to be approximately 27km offshore from the Mogadishu Cable Landing Station, at a water depth of approximately 600 metres. This fault being on the Somalia branch meant there was no major impact on services to other countries served by the EASSy cable.

“Service was restored by undertaking a Branching Unit (BU) switch which required temporary re-configuration of the system power set-up, with traffic clearing from 13:52 UTC on July 27, 2020. Although this has been effective in restoring services, it is an emergency fix. EASSy has a number of ships contracted on a standby basis to undertake off-shore repairs for any faults affecting the cable. A suitable repair ship has been secured and is being mobilised to undertake permanent repair of the shunt fault off Mogadishu,” added the statement.

EASSy is a 10,000km submarine cable system deployed along the east and south coast of Africa to service the voice, data, video and internet needs of the region. With more than 10 Tbps of capacity, EASSy is one of the highest capacity systems serving Africa. It links South Africa with Sudan via landing points in Mozambique, Madagascar, the Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti. The project, which cost an estimated $235 million, incorporates the latest developments in submarine fibre-optic technology, making it economical to connect the region to the high-speed global telecommunications network. The system, partly funded by Africa Development Bank (AfDB)   is owned and operated by a group of 16 African (92%) and international (8%) telecommunications providers. 


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