Life without Internet: Social media, e-banking. ride hailing services disrupted

What started as a mere internet interruption has turned out to be a full-scale crisis that has implications for financial transactions and even national security, with the full impact of the situation still being analysed.

With internet data services hampered by the reported tampering of multiple undersea cables in Portugal, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire, the consequences appear more dire than earlier perceived.
Worst still, the crisis, which reportedly resulted from the disruption in the West Africa Cable System (WACS) and other cables continues, to affect the delivery of essential services across sectors, with many individuals and institutions suffering commercial losses.

Technical sources have suggested that even as the various network service providers continue to work to improve services to custoers, a complete recovery could take weeks.
Specifics about the situation, they said, were currently unknown but industry experts suspect undersea earthquake.

While banking services, for instance, were disrupted by the collapse of internet service on some networks, ride hailing services that rely on data service were equally impacted, grounding many vehicles throughout Thursday and yesterday.

Academic work in the country’s tertiary institutions are equally feeling the pinch of the Internet crisis as lecturers and students struggle to download articles for research purposes.
Providing updates on the disruptions in the Internet, the National Communication Authority (NCA) said the current disruption had been occasioned by some impact on four international undersea cables, namely ACE, the West Africa Cable System (WACS), SAT-3 and MainOne.

The NCA added that after contacting submarine cable service providers and mobile network operators (MNO), it came to light that the disruptions, which affected international traffic into the country, occurred in multiple places, including Cote d’Ivoire and Portugal.

“As a result of the multiple undersea cable cuts, Ghana lost 1,596.6 Gbps data capacity,” the NCA stated.
Ghana’s biggest internet service providers, MTN and Telecel (formerly Vodafone), are both on the affected cables, leaving only Airtel-Tigo, which is hooked on the Glo1 cable with uninterupted service, while the other telcos work to restore full service.

As of yesterday, Facebook, Google and some other social media services were working on the MTN network because of the caching solutions installed in Ghana which pick updates from the data centres in Nigeria.

Sources further told the Daily Graphic that both MTN and Telecel were making efforts to connect to the Google Equiano cable which terminates in Togo to improve internet connectivity.

To understand the steps the government is taking to address the challenge, the Minister of Communication and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, is expected to appear before Parliament on Monday to answer questions.