The Internet Outage in Ghana (Conclusion)


I'll be honest and admit that I thought the internet outage which Ghana and a number of other African countries began experiencing about a month ago was going to take a lot longer to resolve than it actually did.  But still, going approximately a week without connectivity was quite harrowing, especially for those of us who depend on the 'net for our livelihood.  And I can imagine that some residents, i.e. those who work for foreign entities that rely heavily on deadlines, may have even lost their jobs due to being forced offline like that.

The ever-colorful Kai Cenat popped up in GH last month.  Unfortunately,
he did so at the time when the internet was basically nonfunctional.

To give an example of what I mean, Kai Cenat, the A list social media star from NYC, came to Ghana on March 13th, the day before the outage began.  Of course, being an online personality devoid of connectivity, he had to cut his visit short and bounced after only two days.  At the time he stated "no WIFI in Ghana", more or less blaming the issue on the country itself.

He likely didn't know that the problem was affecting roughly a third of the continent.  Also, no one knew at the time how long it would take to resolve.  For instance, according to information that was then available, I presumed it would take over a month for things to return to normal.  Thankfully, that prediction was way off.  But that said, Cenat only spent four days in Nigeria before coming to GH.  So it would have been unrealistic to ask him to sit here for like a week without internet.

Ja Rule more recently represented in GH.

Also, just as a sidenote, Ja Rule more recently came to the 'hood, visiting Kroboland itself, which is like my Ghanaian hometown.  He did so to break ground on a new set of classrooms being built at a local school, which is not only an admirable move but also one that doesn't require internet connectivity to fulfill.


Previously, I also sorta floated the idea that the true source of the outage was not in Africa at all but rather based around Yemen.  What has since been clarified is that the problem sprang from both, "three cables severed... in the Red Sea by an anchor drag", which the next month was followed by "an undersea canyon avalanche incident off the coast of Cote d'Ivoire".


One last thing I wanted to clarify is that in one of the previous "internet outage" posts, I stated that Telecel (aka Vodafone) tends to work better under adverse weather conditions than its main competitor, MTN.  What I meant to say is that it functions better under adverse weather in remote areas, i.e. those where MTN may not get good reception.

During these past couple of weeks, I've been reminded that depending on Telecel over MTN can indeed be a struggle when both are available and conditions conducive to connectivity aren't ideal.  That was true during the Harmattan, to some degree during the internet outage and also now, that the rainy season has begun.

Way back in the days, before the company went private, Telecel was actually Ghana Telecom, a government-owned entity.  That's the reason I believe, based on my own experiences, that their network is more widespread throughout Ghana, even if not as steady.  But sometimes I feel they should have kept it publicly owned, as at least then it had the sympathetic, patriotism-based advantage over its rivals.  But now that MTN's data prices are also becoming reasonable, I wonder what Telecel's next step is going to be in the competition.


I want to send a shoutout to all who were involved in expeditiously resolving the internet outage in Ghana.  Africa is by and large "Third World", and such designations may give the impression that we aren't dependent on modern technologies.  Yes, I would argue that, if your goal is to minimize your basic dependency on international markets, the Motherland may be a more ideal place to live than the West.  But as we were recently reminded via the internet outage, masses of Africans are very much global citizens and netizens also.