By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha
Zimbabwe links to the 13,700-kilometre South East Asia Commonwealth (Seacom) submarine fibre-optic cable system running along the coast of Africa via Mozambique’s parastatal telecommunications company, Telecommunicacoes de Mozambique (TDM).
All Internet Access Providers (IAPs) utilising the Mozambique link were affected resulting in slow to no internet connection for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and their clients.
“Due to some disruptions to equipment in Mozambique, I can confirm that a good portion of our internet capacity has been negatively affected. However, we maintain other tributaries of internet connectivity to ensure that our clients stay online,” said an official with a local Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Sue Bolt, a spokespersom for Dandemutande, one of Zimbabwe’s biggest IAPs confirmed that they had been informed of Telecomunicações de Moçambique equipment failure in Chimoio.
“It is true that the internet services have been slow, and the last we heard was that there has been equipment failure in Mozambique. But we have been using back satelitte link-ups,” said Bolt. Efforts to get a comment from Seacom offices in Mozambique and South Africa were fruitless but a statement on the company’s website dated October 20, 2011 read:
“SEACOM has completed the restoration process for all of our customers on alternative routes. In the meantime, the repair vessel is now in transit to the repair ground in the Mediterranean. The vessel has received the master permit for this repair; operational permits are being finalized and should be received prior to arrival on the repair ground. At this time repair completion is expected late October, however we’d note that the usual exogenous factors associated with sub-sea repairs, including weather and currents, may further impact the repair. SEACOM continues to monitor the situation closely and will update customers regularly on progress.”
With Zimbabwe gaining increasing access to the internet via the undersea cable system and redefining the way people communicate and do business, any disruption to services is immensely felt among businesses and the general public, especially in urban areas.