FALCON cable cut causes internet outage for East Africa

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Al-Thawra Net

Ethiopia, Sudan and Tanzania are reportedly in the midst of a major internet outage caused by cuts to the FLAG Alcatel-Lucent Optical Network (FALCON) in Yemen.

According to reports, the cuts happened on January 9, and in a statement by Global Cloud Xchange (GCX) which manages the system, it stated that it had suffered “two major cable cuts off-shore near Port Suez.”

The cable routes impacted include the Falcon line between Muscat and Suez and the FEA between Mumbai and Suez.”

Initial findings from the company indicate that the cause of the break was “an anchor drag by a large merchant vessel in the immediate area”. GCX has already deployed repair ships and is working to “apply for required permits.”

The company says that the time of repair will depend on how long it takes to procure the permits.

In the meantime, GCX says that all layer 1 traffic will remain down, and that it is working on restoring connection through various other means, such as using third part cables where possible.

The entire Gulf region, along with a number of African countries have been affected by the internet outage, but Yemen has reportedly come off worse for wear with 80% of its internet connections down.

The area around the Suez Canal and the Red Sea has been described by Doug Madory, Director of Internet Analysis at Oracle Internet Intelligence as ‘very shallow’, making it susceptible to anchor drops and cable cuts like this one.

In related news, GCX recently appointed Rory Cole, the company’s CFO, as its new interim CEO succeeding Bill Barney who stepped down from his role at parent company RCOM in September 2019.

Source: Capacity Media