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Slow Internet expected in Kenya as cable repairs start

Internet users in Kenya will experience lower broadband speeds in the next two weeks as The East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) cable undergoes maintenance works.

According to TEAMS, the works are meant to prevent damage by ‘external aggressors’ after the cable experienced a number of cuts last year caused by marine travel, the heaviest being in March last year when the cable was cut by a ship’s anchor.

The two-week exercise is part of a four-month preventive works that will reduce the chances of such cuts.

TEAMS manager Joel Tanui said the exercise, which will cost KSh480 million (approx US$5.6 million) including the cost of re-routing traffic to other cables, had been scheduled for the early weeks of the year given less traffic in the sea.

“The planned cable reinforcement works are designed to increase resilience of the cable against external aggression by ships and fishing boats. The timing — first week of January 2013 — coincides with the slack period at the beginning of the year to minimise the impact on live traffic,” he said.

A number of companies are expected to be affected by the maintenance, including mobile network providers Safaricom, Telkom Orange and Essar Kenya, and Internet service providers Jamii Telecom, Access Kenya and Kenya Data Networks (KDN).

“Only the first two weeks will have the heaviest impact on traffic with complete downtime,” Tanui added.

During the period, the company will have the option of re-routing traffic through any of the other three undersea cables currently connected to the port of Mombasa, namely Seacom, EASSy and LION2.

A number of companies have since announced they have re-routed their traffic through other cables supported by satellite connectivity.

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