SAT-3 Cable Cut - 70 Percent Internet Capacity Threatened, MTN, Suburban Count Losses


Last week Monday, there was a fault at the Benin landing station of the SAT3 cable which hit both traffic sent direct from Lagos and Suburban Telecom’s terrestrial route to the Benin landing station, much of which is MTN traffic.

The problem is expected to last at least ten clear days from Monday last week, before it could be rectified. Already the outage has also disrupted the services of a lot of networks and service providers who depend on the SAT3 to service their customers.

According to the Chief Technical Officer of Suburban West Africa, Anil Verma, "as premier supplier of internet backbone services in the region we had been on the forefront of increasing the internet capacity available in Nigeria through a partnership agreement with Benin Telecom, a member of the SAT3 submarine cable consortium. This partnership resulted in Suburban deploying a redundant terrestrial fibre optic network into the Republic of Benin, in order to connect into the cable system there. However, this current outage was experienced on the landing cable that connects the terrestrial fibre optic networks to the submarine fibre optic cable.

"But this is only a temporary setback. Once the cable is restored, we will continue with our efforts of making available more internet bandwidth in Nigeria at a reasonable cost, as we have been doing over the last few years".

MTN Nigeria, also announced that the company is experiencing challenges with access to international bandwidth, leading to service disruption to some of its international and data / internet based services as a result of damage to one of the landing cables of the SAT3 submarine cable system

Corporate Services Executive of MTN, Wale Goodluck said "we are experiencing some challenges with access to bandwidth which carries a very large portion of our international voice and data traffic out of the country. While the cause of the problem is still being investigated by our service provider, the immediate consequence is that our international traffic will be affected. Specifically, our subscribers who make international calls may experience difficulties as we anticipate congestion on the international route".

He also said that subscribers who use MTN Fastlink data cards or mobile internet via 3.5G or GPRS, Blackberry users and Enterprise customers, who use the fixed broadband internet, will also be affected .

Meanwhile Chief Executive Officer of Suburban West Africa, Bruce Ayonote said that "in the eight years the SAT3 service has been available, this is the first time there has been an outage on the Benin landing cable. There have been outages on the actual SAT3 submarine cable itself, but not the Benin landing cable. The SAT3 cable is built with redundancy, which is why there has been minimal downtime in other outages, but with this outage being on an isolated landing cable, we will have to wait for the SAT3 consortium to send one of their cable maintenance ships to Benin to fix the problem. This is expected to take approximately 10 days."

Nigerian ISP Linkserve activated its back-up platform on KU-Band to overcome the problem.