[AfrICANN-discuss] Uganda: Bomb Blasts Disrupt Internet Services

LO MAMADOU alfamamadou at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 15 14:55:43 SAST 2010

Uganda: Bomb Blasts Disrupt Internet Services
David Mugabe
14 July 2010

Kampala — The deadly twin bomb blasts that hit Kampala last Sunday have forced Internet service providers to rethink their service delivery by providing back-up to the fibre optic cables.

The explosions damaged the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company (UETCL) pylons, thus breaking supply of bandwidth that is transmitted through the power lines.

End users reported hours of interruption. The New Vision can confirm that only about 20% of the capacity was available during most of the day on Monday.Even users from as far as Lira said the service was poor and unreliable by last week, but had worsened on Monday.

"Ours has been very slow since last week, but it got worse on Monday," said a worker with the National Social Security Fund in Lira.Uganda telecom (utl), which controls 85% of the data market, conceded that their service to eastern Uganda, from Busoga region, was affected.

"A microwave link will be set up to act as a back-up like we have done in Kampala. Wherever we have fibre and copper, we also have satellite," said Mark Kaheru, utl's spokeperson. Kaheru said fibre still remains the most reliable option, but precautions will now have to be taken into account outside Kampala, even though the damage is not frequent.

"The cable is 40 metres in the air. This is the second time we have had the interruption in the last seven years," Kaheru said. The fibre from Kampala to Kenya starts at Kyadondo Rugby Club and it is managed by UETCL.

Service providers sent engineers at the bomb site on Monday morning, but they were turned away by security officers who were combing the area for clues on the deadly terrorist attack. Orange Telecom chief strategy officer Edouard Blondeau explained that because of the interruption "we have to look for ways of putting our eggs in different baskets to mitigate the risks because damage is part of the daily fibre life.

Blondeau said the firm is linking up to SEACOM, another undersea fibre optic cable, which was launched last year. Orange Telecom is connected to TEAMS and satellite. Orange, however, reported that the service was restored on Tuesday by about 9:00pm. Other service providers said they had to prioritise service to corporates and limit traffic to individuals during the interruption.


Source : the new vision
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