The breakage of three subsea cables off the west coast of Africa has led to widespread internet disruptions in Sierra Leone and neighboring countries.

The damage has triggered outages and connectivity issues for mobile operators and internet service providers, according to data from internet analysis firms including NetBlocks, Kentik and Cloudflare.

Data show a major disruption to connectivity in eight West African countries, with Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Benin being the most affected. NetBlocks, an internet watchdog, said in a post on Twitter (X) that Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon are among other countries impacted.

Sierra Leone, however, seems to be in a slightly better situation. Internet service provider ZoodLabs says it has established downstream triple redundancy measures that create logical connectivity to Sierra Leone via other Branching Units and cable nodes connecting other countries.

In a statement, ZoodLabs confirmed a major cut on the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable at 5:02 AM, impacting internet access for 17 African countries. The damage also affected segments of the WACS and SAT-3 cables, further limiting connectivity in five West African nations.

Fortunately, ZoodLabs claims restoration efforts were completed by 5:49 AM, utilizing their redundant infrastructure to handle all internet traffic from Sierra Leone without congestion.

“At 5.02am on 14th March 2024, due to unknown causes, the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable connecting seventeen (17) African countries to the global internet experienced a major cut.

“Multiple traffic segments connecting five (5) countries in West Africa went down as a result of this cut. Preliminary diagnosis show that multiple cable assets were affected, including WACS Cable and SAT-3 Cable.”

The internet service provider said restoration efforts were completed at 05.49am and capacity on this redundant leg is sufficient to support all internet traffic from Sierra Leone without any congestions to service providers.

While the situation appears to be improving for Sierra Leone, other parts of West Africa may continue to experience internet disruptions until repairs on the damaged cables are completed.