Home » Internet Outage Cripples Ghana: Nationwide Crisis Hits Hard

Internet Outage Cripples Ghana: Nationwide Crisis Hits Hard

Essential Services Stall as Ghana Grapples with Internet Woes

by Adenike Adeodun

In an unexpected turn of events, what initially seemed like a minor internet disruption has escalated into a severe crisis, significantly impacting various sectors and stirring concerns about financial transactions and national security. The root of the problem traces back to the damage inflicted on multiple undersea cables, including those in Portugal, Senegal, and Côte d’Ivoire, severely affecting internet data services. This incident has cast a shadow over the reliability of the digital infrastructure that underpins modern life, from social media to e-banking and ride-hailing services.

The disruption in the West Africa Cable System (WACS) and other key cables has led to widespread outages, leaving individuals and businesses grappling with substantial commercial losses. Network service providers are scrambling to restore services, but technical experts warn that a full recovery could be weeks away. The cause of the cable damages remains speculative, with undersea earthquakes being a suspected culprit.

The impact of the crisis is far-reaching. Banking services have been thrown into disarray, complicating transactions for countless customers. Similarly, the operation of ride-hailing services has been severely compromised, leading to a standstill in vehicular movement on Thursday and the following day. The academic sphere is not spared either, with tertiary institutions facing challenges as lecturers and students struggle to access essential research materials online.

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has shed some light on the situation, revealing that the disruption stems from damage to four international undersea cables: ACE, WACS, SAT-3, and MainOne. Investigations by submarine cable service providers and mobile network operators (MNO) pinpointed the disruptions to multiple locations, including Côte d’Ivoire and Portugal, leading to a substantial loss of 1,596.6 Gbps of data capacity for Ghana.

The country’s major internet service providers, MTN and Telecel (formerly Vodafone), find themselves directly affected by these cable damages. Airtel-Tigo, however, continues to provide uninterrupted service through the Glo1 cable, while its competitors strive to regain full connectivity. Despite these challenges, services like Facebook and Google remain accessible on the MTN network, thanks to caching solutions that draw updates from data centers in Nigeria.

Efforts are underway to mitigate the crisis, with MTN and Telecel exploring connections to the Google Equiano cable, which terminates in Togo, to bolster internet connectivity. As the nation looks for answers and solutions, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communication and Digitalization, is set to address Parliament on Monday regarding the government’s response to this unprecedented challenge.

This crisis underscores the fragile nature of the global internet infrastructure and the profound impact such disruptions can have on daily life and the economy. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of safeguarding this critical infrastructure against natural disasters and other unforeseen threats. As Ghana navigates through this digital turmoil, the focus is not only on immediate recovery but also on strengthening resilience against future disruptions, ensuring that the backbone of the modern economy can withstand the tests of time and nature.

Source: Graphic Online

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