SEA-ME-WE 5 and EIG outages impact WIOCC customers across Africa

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The WIOCC Network Operation Centre (NOC) reported interruption to a large number of client services between Djibouti and Marseille, France on the SEA-ME-WE 5 subsea cable.

The disruption to voice, data and internet services affected WIOCC customers across multiple countries across eastern and southern Africa, on 16 February 2021.

In order to repair the fault, it would require a subsea operation over a number of weeks, so in the interim, WIOCC’s team began carrying out restoration solutions on alternative routes for those customers the needed them. WIOCC completed its restoration solutions by 19 Friday.

However, by 21 February, WIOCC’s NOC again witnessed multiple client services go down on the route between Djibouti and Marseille, this time caused by a problem on the Europe India Gateway (EIG) subsea cable. In addition to cutting some of the client services that had been restored from SMW5, the issue also affected a further set of clients across eastern and southern Africa.

In response, WIOCC staff from across sales, service, networks and operations worked through the weekend to agree and deploy restoration of client services. Adding to this challenge, a power failure the same day in an unnamed third-party data centre cut both the live and back-up power for a number of customers, including WIOCC. Power was quickly restored but it did require a migration to alternative WIOCC equipment within the data centre.

As of 22 February 2021, the company reports that almost all clients requiring restoration as a result of this events have been configured on alternate routes as it continues to work on solutions with the remaining customers.