The Internet Outage in Ghana (Day 4): Let the Disinformation Begin

A couple of articles I came across from locally-based websites over the past couple of days while researching the current internet outage gives the impression that at the source of the problem lies in "cut" undersea cables located in neighboring Ivory Coast, nearby Senegal and to a lesser extent Portugal.  This apparent half-truthing has been buttressed by innumerable other sites, many of which are international, due to the ambiguity of the information they have provided.

From the start of the outage, I was under the impression that the "cut" cables may be an act of terrorism.  That's because in late February, I read an article on Infowars which stated that Houthi (i.e. Yemenese) rebels severed major internet cables in the Red Sea.  So I thought that perhaps there was some type of global conspiracy going on, i.e. a multinational terrorist organization destroying internet cables, yet those in the know being reluctant to specify who.

In a way that presumption may be correct, as I just discovered, from an article published on March 14th, that it's those selfsame cut cables in the Red Sea which are now negatively affecting parts of Africa, including Ghana.  In other words, the problem with the undersea internet cables which provide most of Ghana's internet - SAT3/WACS, ACE and MainOne - was caused by that disruption in the Middle East.

SAT3 (South Atlantic 3) and WACS (West Africa Submarine Cable), which are one in the same, run from the Mediterranean, i.e. Portugal and Spain, down to South Africa.

MainOne also traverses the Atlantic, running from Portugal to South Africa.

ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) follows a similar route, with South Africa on one end and France on the other.

All three of them service West African countries.  So obviously, what's not being shown on their respective Wikipedia diagrams is the fact that the internet on these lines transit through the Middle East.

One of the cables that was directly affected in the Red Sea was Seacom, which is a company based in South Africa.  And they had already stated way back at the beginning of March that they aren't going to even begin repairing it until April.

So for all of those entities out there who are reporting or implying that the source of the internet outage in Africa was a natural undersea event which transpired in the western part of the continent, maybe what they actually mean is that seismic occurrence coupled with whatever happened in the Middle East, with the cause of the latter still having yet to be conclusively determined. 


The Houthis have reportedly denied spoiling the internet.  But the reason many people believe they did so nonetheless is because that's how they roll.

For instance, it has been revealed that 'insur(ing) some cable ships near Yemen' runs companies "as much as $150,000 a day", due to how dangerous the waterbody has become as a result of Houthi activity.  So those repairs that the National Communication Authority and others are reporting - the ones that "have... an estimated time frame of a minimum of five weeks for full-service restoration from the time the vessels are dispatched to various locations" - are going to be taken place in part in the Red Sea, which borders Yemen, meaning that the repair ships have to hire world-class security.

Also, notice how that statement says "a minimum of five weeks... from the time the vessels are dispatched to various locations" (thus making the title of the Ghanaweb article it appears in misleading).  So considering all of the above, what we're actually looking at in places like Ghana is the internet not being back to normal until at least early May.  But that being said, here's to hoping that the issue is resolved sooner rather than later, and also maybe after they fix it, it'll be faster than before.


I\ve been trying to access X (aka Twitter) for about half a day now, but still no-go.


Of all the sites that haven't been working, losing Wikipedia hurts the most.  Even now in the late night, I'm having a hard time accessing it.  That's better than the daytime though, when it wasn't showing at all.


Yesterday I was biggin' up Telecel (aka Vodafone), as amidst the outage it was performing better than MTN.  Such definitely was not the case on Day 3 (Saturday) and now heading into Day 4, as the Telecel network has been down for hours and in some instances unable to connect at all.  In other words, it's acting similar to how MTN was behaving a couple of days ago.

This is despite a report that came out earlier today, via Peace FM, stating that Telecel made some powermoves to mitigate the outage on their network.  Right after that article was published, their internet did perform relatively well for a short time.  But as I currently write this post, Telecel is once again "roaming", basically meaning that it can't connect to the internet.

Amidst it all, I've come across a couple of reports that AirtelTigo only partially depends on the cables than mentioned above and is therefore transmitting data better than both MTN and Telecel, which rely on them exclusively. The thing though is that AirtelTigo is a lot less popular than the other two, so many of us can't take advantage unless we go out and register a chip accordingly.  But this goes to show why in Ghana, sometimes you have to diversify when it comes to the provision of essential services.