African Countries Affected by FALCON Undersea Cable Cut
Ethiopia, Sudan and Tanzania continue to be affected by the cable cuts to the FLAG Alcatel-Lucent Optical Network (FALCON) undersea cable off Yemen understood to have occurred on 9 Jan 2020.
The FALCON cable is managed by Global Cloud Xchange (GCX).
In a statement, GCX said it suffered two major cable cuts to off-shore Port Suez impacting the FALCON route between Muscat and Suez, and that of FEA between Mumbai and Suez.
GCX said while all layer 1 traffic on the impacted routes remains down, efforts are being made to restore connectivity for customers on critical routes through various available options including third party cables.
“Initial findings indicate that probable cause was an anchor drag by a large merchant vessel in the immediate area,” GCX stated.
The entire Gulf region and a number of African countries were affected, but Yemen has been the worst hit with 80% of internet connections in the country cut. This is because of the country’s reliance on the cable and the non-existence of other major means of connectivity.
The African countries connected to the FALCON cable did not experience major outages and were able to rely on other cable connectivity.
Apart from FALCON, Ethiopia is also connected to the SEACOM submarine cable network and the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy), among others.
GCX added: “GCX has initiated mobilisation of the repair ships and is working to apply for required permits. Estimated time of repair completion will depend on the availability of permits. GCX team is working around the clock to ensure we place top priority in expediting the repair and restoration process.”
Doug Madory, Oracle Internet Intelligence’s director of internet analysis, described the area around the Suez Canal and the Red Sea as very shallow, making it easier for anchors to cut cables. On the other hand, the topography also makes it easier for the repair of damaged cables that occur in the shallow water.
Spanning over 10,000km, the FALCON cable has a capacity of 2.56 Tbps and became operational in September 2006