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Internet outage in Ghana: What you need to know

Internet outage in Ghana: What you need to know
Mr. David Gyedu, Cybersecurity expert

By David Gyedu, Cyber Expert

Ghana has been experiencing a country-wide disruption of internet connectivity due to cable faults affecting the commercial undersea telecommunication cables (CUTC).

This report aims to provide an overview of the issue, potential causes of cable faults, the impact on Ghana, and propose short-term, medium-term, and long-term solutions.

David Gyedu known as DK Cyber from Cyber1defense Communication, appeared on the GTV Breakfast Show to discuss pertinent issues related to the recent internet outage. During the show, he presented in-depth research and insights, drawing from the expertise and guidance of his mentor, Desmond Israel ESQ.

The research, influenced by the guidance and mentorship of Desmond Israel ESQ, provided a comprehensive understanding of the Internet outage.

Potential Causes of Cable Faults
The potential causes of cable faults include:

  • Natural disasters: Events such as earthquakes, landslides, and rockslides can damage or deform the undersea cables. The coast of Abidjan, where some cables connect, is particularly prone to landslides.
  • Human activity: Activities like fishing, anchoring, and dredging can accidentally damage the undersea cables.
  • Fish bite (shark attacks): Marine creatures, particularly sharks, can cause damage to the cables.
  • Bad actors: Deliberate acts of sabotage, such as terrorist attacks, can disrupt the internet connectivity by damaging the undersea cables.

Impact on Ghana:

The internet outage has significantly affected Ghana in the following ways:

  • Ghana relies on five CUTCs, namely SAT3, WACS, ACE, MainOne, and Glo1, to bring capacity to its inland carriers.
  • Currently, four out of the five CUTCs, excluding Glo1, are down.
  • The four affected cables have their landing station in Abidjan.
  • Ghanaian carriers, with the exception of AT (AirtelTigo), are unable to distribute the expected capacity to the last-mile due to the undersea cable faults.
  • Other African countries, including Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Benin, Liberia, Nigeria, and Cameroon, are also affected by the internet outage.

Short-Term Solutions:

To address the immediate impact of the internet outage, the following short-term solutions are proposed:

•Pooling or peering: Utilize existing peering agreements and available capacity to distribute the internet traffic. Glo1, with a capacity of 2.5 Tbps split between Ghana and Nigeria, can contribute to this effort. The total capacity on the remaining four CUTCs is approximately 6 Tbps.

  • Repair damaged cable: Promptly repair the cable faults within the estimated time of five weeks to restore normal connectivity.

Medium-Term Solutions:

In the medium term, the following solutions can be implemented:

  • Local IPX and physically hosted data centers with CDN capabilities: Establish local internet exchange points (IPX) and data centers to improve network reliability and reduce reliance on international connectivity.
  • Encourage alternative service provisioning: Promote the use of satellite services and alternative means of internet connectivity for personal and business use.

Long-Term Solutions:

To mitigate the risk of future internet outages, the following long-term solutions are recommended:

  • Cable protection standards: Implement cable protection measures such as protection zones, spatial separations, and identification of cable hotspots to minimize the risk of damage.
  • Alternative landing stations: Establish additional landing stations at different locations to avoid a single point of failure.
  • Explore terrestrial cabling potentials: Invest in terrestrial cabling infrastructure to diversify internet connectivity options.
  • ITU Open-Access Architecture: Explore the adoption of the ITU’s open-access architecture, including peering mandates and regulatory-backed interoperability, to foster collaboration and improve internet connectivity.

Concluding, the internet outage in Ghana caused by cable faults in the commercial undersea telecommunication cables has had a significant impact on the country’s connectivity. Implementing short-term, medium-term, and long-term solutions will help restore and improve internet connectivity, reduce dependency on undersea cables, and enhance resilience against future disruptions.

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