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US embassy in Tanzania suspends services due to internet outage

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 14 May 2024 at 04:08

The United States Embassy in Tanzania has suspended key consular services following a widespread internet outage linked to a major fault on the subsea fibre connecting the East Africa region to the rest of the world through South Africa.
As a result of the network interruptions, the US embassy said its offices in Tanzania will remain closed to the public on May 14 and 15.
"All consular appointments on May 14 & 15 will be cancelled and rescheduled to a later date," the embassy said in (...)

The United States Embassy in Tanzania has suspended key consular services following a widespread internet outage linked to a major fault on the subsea fibre connecting the East Africa region to the rest of the world through South Africa.

As a result of the network interruptions, the US embassy said its offices in Tanzania will remain closed to the public on May 14 and 15.

"All consular appointments on May 14 & 15 will be cancelled and rescheduled to a later date," the embassy said in a statement.

During the period, the embassy noted that only the consular section would be open as scheduled for visa pick-up and handling of emergency cases for American citizens.

Tanzania was the worst-hit country in the internet outage that hit EAC members including Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda on Saturday.

Cloudflare Radar, which monitors internet connectivity, reported that Tanzania’s traffic had fallen to 30 per cent of expected levels since the network interruption was reported at 10 am on Saturday.

Nape Nnauye, Tanzania’s minister of information, communication and information technology confirmed the service disruption on Sunday, saying the cuts affected the SEACOM and EASSy subsea cable systems between Mozambique and South Africa.

The minister said the country would continue to experience low internet speeds until the technical problem is resolved.

"There are ongoing efforts to solve the problem," he said. "As they continue to solve the problem, we will have very low access to internet and international voice calls."

Internet service providers (ISPs) in Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda said they were aware of the intermittent internet connections and urged their customers to be patient while the issue is being addressed.

“To our customers, we would like to inform you that the technical problem with the Internet in East Africa has not yet been resolved. We are still monitoring it to provide you with normal internet services. We apologize for the inconvenience caused,” MTN Rwanda said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Most ISPs, including Kenya’s leading telecommunications company Safaricom, said they had been forced to activate redundancy measures to keep their customers connected.

“We have since activated redundancy measures to minimise service interruption and keep you connected as we await the full restoration of the cable,” Safaricom said, adding, “You may, however, experience reduced internet speeds.”

Meanwhile, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) assured members of the public on Monday that efforts by relevant players are ongoing to restore full connectivity.

"This is to inform all internet users of the undersea cable damage leading to internet disruptions. Users are encountering slow internet speeds due to congestion on remaining links.

"Please be patient as all is being done to restore full connectivity," RURA said in a statement on Monday.


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