Corporate News

Public agencies off Internet as undersea cable is repaired

Share Bookmark Print Rating
Workers and passport applicants outside Nyayo House last year. The building houses the headquarters of the Immigration ministry, which was one of the public institutions affected by disruption of Internet services Monday. AFP

Workers and passport applicants outside Nyayo House last year. The building houses the headquarters of the Immigration ministry, which was one of the public institutions affected by disruption of Internet services Monday. AFP 

By Mugambi Mutegi

Posted  Monday, January 7   2013 at  22:14

In Summary

  • The East African Marine System (TEAMs), which supplies the bulk of international data links to Kenya, will remain offline until Tuesday as it undergoes maintenance expected to last eight weeks.
  • This outage meant that public services such as downloading of online passport and birth certificate application forms were grounded.
  • While the TEAMs management had warned of slow Internet and advised on the need to route Internet traffic to other providers, the government seemed to have been caught flat-footed.
SHARE THIS STORY

State agencies have experienced erratic Internet linkage since Thursday as repairs on an undersea cable left their websites inaccessible and employees off the world-wide web.

The East African Marine System (TEAMs), which supplies the bulk of international data links to Kenya, will remain offline until Tuesday as it undergoes maintenance expected to last eight weeks.

This has affected crucial State sites such as Immigration, Finance, and Education ministries as well as Parliament, which were offline until 3pm Monday.

This outage meant that public services such as downloading of online passport and birth certificate application forms were grounded.

Kenyans could also not access general information from the websites while IT administrators at the affected agencies could not upload new content.

“The cable repair has left us with serious Internet issues since Friday,” said Eric Isuza, an IT specialist at the Energy ministry.

“While the issue is being addressed, workers cannot currently access their emails, surf or even upload content to the website.” The Business Daily contacted other employees at several other ministries who confirmed that the outage had nearly grounded office operations.

However, websites like those of the Kenya Revenue Authority and Vision 2030 were still running.

While the TEAMs management had warned of slow Internet and advised on the need to route Internet traffic to other providers, the government seemed to have been caught flat-footed.

Firms connected to TEAMs were last week advised to use alternative routes like the other three undersea cables — Seacom, EASSy and LION2 — or reroute data traffic to satellites.

Information and Communications permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo nearly a decade ago insisted on investing in TEAMs against opposition from the private sector, which claimed that there would be duplication. Outages on the cables and huge demand, however, have come to justify the multiple investments.

“Only the first two weeks will have the heaviest impact on traffic with complete downtime (on 3-15 January),” said TEAMS general manager Joel Tanui while announcing the start of the maintenance.

“During this time of complete system downtime, customers are likely to experience slow Internet speeds because of bandwidth constraints as a result of limited traffic restoration via other cables.”

Safaricom, Jamii Telecom, Wananchi Group and Essar Kenya are other service providers use TEAMs to terminate connections to their clients.

1 | 2 Next Page»