If your internet has been very slow, here’s why

Internet services in Nigeria and most of sub-Saharan Africa have been very crappy. There's an explanation for all of that.

Nigerian internet users are groaning about poor connectivity (AFP)

Pages aren’t loading or load slowly, pictures disappear when pages eventually load and office admins and HR are having a hard time apologising again and again to frustrated employees.

In some countries, consumers and businesses can’t send emails or make cross-border phone calls.

There’s a reason why internet subscribers in Nigeria and most of Africa can’t get online as they used to at the moment; and it has everything to do with the physical internet infrastructure.

Bloomberg reports that internet users across sub-Saharan Africa are stuck with slow service after two undersea cables to the continent’s western coast got damaged.

The damaged cable systems are called WACS and SAT3/WASC.

These cables are embedded in the Atlantic Ocean and connect South Africa and many other African countries to Europe, according to Openserve, a unit of South Africa’s biggest fixed-line telecommunications provider, Telkom SA SOC Ltd.

One damage occurred near Libreville in Gabon and the other occurred in the vicinity of Luanda, Angola, according to an emailed statement from Openserve.

MTN Group Ltd., which is Africa’s biggest telecommunications provider, apologized to customers in Nigeria and Ivory Coast for slow Internet speeds and difficulties in accessing data services.

In newspaper advertisements and via Twitter, MTN said the problem was beyond its control.

“This situation is affecting all operators and customers in the region,” a Johannesburg-based spokeswoman for MTN said in an emailed statement on Friday. “MTN has already begun to restore traffic through other channels and will continue to find alternative routes of connectivity until the situation is resolved.”

South Africa-based Internet Solutions, a unit of Dimension Data Holdings Plc, told customers in Ghana that a “major” service impact had started on Thursday afternoon and said it didn’t know when services would be restored.

The Main One Cable company, whose submarine communications cable stretches from Portugal to South Africa; with landings along the route in various West African countries told Pulse that "MainOne has no damaged submarine cables and our services continue to run without any disruptions to our customers. We empathize with affected WACS and SAT3/WASC cable owners, and will continue to support any affected partners."

Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nigeria are hooked on the MainOne network.

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