Banking institutions in the country that are connected to Rwandatel’s internet network have had their services affected following Seacom’s undersea cable failure.
The internet breakdown that started early this week is attributed to the fault on an undersea cable running from Dar-es-Salaam to Mumbai in the Indian Ocean.
The cable on which Rwandatel is connected through microwave technology links East and South Africa to Europe and Asia.
“It has affected our activities where you find long queues at the bank due to slow connection,” said Patrick Ntwali FINA bank’s IT personnel.
He said customers using moneygram services were the most affected since it now takes at least five minutes to execute a service that used be performed within one minute.
Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR) said it had switched to the backup provided by MTN Rwanda.
“We did not suffer because we have an MTN backup that we switched to. It has worked excellently and business at BCR is as usual,” said Sanjeev Anand the Managing Director of BCR.
Rwandatel’s Chief Executive Officer, Issiaka Maiga Hamidou said that they were working on alternatives, possibly switching back to satellite connection as the problem is being fixed.
“We are in touch with Seacom and they are doing everything in their capacity and working around the clock to restore service,” he said.
Reports from Seacom indicated that the damage on the cable was ‘quite serious’ and could take minimum of six to eight days, and potentially up to two weeks.
“The problem was noticed...on Monday that there was a cable fault, and we involved- technical teams to identify that. In fact a repeater had failed about 300km north of Mombasa,” Seacom said in a statement.
“Technicians tried to bring it up using configurations and stuff, but it turns out that the kind of fault and the repeater needs to be raised off the sea bed and replace it,” the statement reads.
Rwandatel says that negotiations are ongoing to have the connection by the end of 2010 with the Rusomo border as the landing point so as to a have a variety of connection to avoid such problems.
BBC reported that a cable cut in the Mediterranean in 2008 temporarily disrupted up to 70 per cent of internet traffic to Egypt and 60 per cent to India.