Congo-Brazzaville is facing nationwide internet disruptions and slowdowns which started on Friday, June 9, 2017, after a damage to the country’s main submarine cables.
Network providers confirmed days after the outage that the problem was caused by a submarine cable cut off in the Atlantic Ocean near the economic capital Pointe-Noire.
The major internet service provider, MTN Congo, sent text messages to its users on Sunday saying: “the difficulties in accessing stable internet connection were caused by a submarine cable cut.”
Another message was sent to users on Monday saying: “Internet is available but limited.”
A team of technicians were dispatched by boat on Monday and are currently repairing the damaged submarine cables. It will take between two to five weeks to repair.
Cedric Nzimbou, a network engineer with SkyTic Telecom – one of the country’s major network providers – told Africanews that the “12-kilometer fibre optic West African Cable System (WACS) that connects the country through Pointe-Noire to the international cable was cut off by a fishing vessel”.
He added that network providers were forced to provide internet using V-SAT which is slow and expensive as a result of huge taxes paid to use the service.
“A team of technicians was dispatched by boat on Monday and are currently repairing the damaged submarine cables. It will take between two to five weeks to repair,” he said.
Local media reported that the damage to the submarine cables was caused by a suspected Chinese fishing vessel.
The country’s communication authority has not made any official statement yet.
Internet-based businesses have been affected as well as communications companies.
Congo-Brazzaville is in Central Africa and bordered by five countries and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, where its second largest city – Pointe-Noire – connects to the rest of the world by sea.