Somalia’s undersea cable accident is costing the country $10m per day

10 Jul 2017

Dusk over Mogadishu, capital of Somalia. Image: Jan Wellmann/Shutterstock

Somali internet users have been cut adrift from the world after a cargo ship accidentally cut an undersea cable, with costly results.

The fragility of the internet can be best summed up by news that Somalis lost their access when a commercial ship accidentally cut an undersea cable off the coast of the east African country.

The incident reportedly took place on 23 June, and the government has been unable to repair it since.

The capital of Mogadishu has been hit hardest by the nationwide outage, where much of the country’s business, governance and media are based.

According to Africa News, reporting five days after the incident, Omani engineers were offering assistance to repair the cable, which supports almost all of Somalia’s internet service providers.

With the cable remaining unfixed, the toll on the country is now making Somalia’s government more than a little anxious.

According to the BBC, Somalia’s posts and telecommunications minister, Abdi Anshur Hassan, has described the outage as nothing short of a “major disaster”, costing the country close to $10m each day.

The perils of undersea cables

There is some good news, however, as Hassan confirmed that the cable is close to being repaired, with full service expected to be restored later this week.

This isn’t the first time that a major nationwide internet outage has occurred this year, most recently seen in the Republic of Congo, otherwise known as Congo-Brazzaville.

Last month, the country experienced disruption after its own undersea cable was accidentally cut, causing severely limited access in some parts.

The submarine cable affected was the 12km West African Cable System (WACS), which was accidentally snapped by a passing fishing vessel.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic