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Combined outages affect WIOCC clients in multiple African countries

On Tuesday, 16th February at 19:16 UTC, the WIOCC Network Operation Centre (NOC) observed interruption to a significant number of client services between Djibouti and Marseille, France on the SeaMeWe5 submarine cable, affecting voice, data and internet services in multiple countries across eastern and southern Africa. Once it was determined that fault repair would require a subsea operation extending over a number of weeks, WIOCC’s team set to work implementing restoration solutions on alternative routes for those clients requiring them. This activity was completed by Friday, 19th February.

However, on Sunday 21st February at 03:00 UTC, WIOCC’s 24x7x365 NOC again observed multiple client services go down on the route between Djibouti and Marseille, this time caused by a problem on the Europe India Gateway (EIG) submarine cable. As well as cutting some of the client services that had been restored from SMW5, the issue also affected a further set of clients across eastern and southern Africa. WIOCC staff from multiple functions – including Sales, Service, Networks and Operations – worked through the weekend to agree and implement restoration of client services. To compound their challenge, a power failure the same day in a key third-party data centre cut both the live and back-up power for a number of their customers, including WIOCC. Even though power was restored in a short time, issues in bringing up affected equipment required a migration to alternative WIOCC equipment within the data centre.

Despite these challenges, the afternoon of Monday 22nd February saw almost all clients requiring restoration as a result of this rare combination of circumstances configured on alternate routes, with WIOCC continuing to work on solutions with the final few.

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