Navigating Internet Downtime in Africa: Tips for Maintaining Productivity
Noah Olatoye

Noah Olatoye

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Navigating Internet Downtime in Africa: Tips for Maintaining Productivity

In recent weeks, West Africa has been grappling with significant internet outages caused by faults in underwater cable lines, according to a report by Bloomberg. Data from internet analysis firms such as NetBlocks, Kentik, and Cloudflare has underscored the widespread impact of these outages, leaving many individuals and businesses across the region struggling to maintain connectivity.

Doug Madory, the director of internet analysis firm Kentik, described the situation as "a devastating blow to internet connectivity along the west coast of Africa, which will be operating in a degraded state for weeks to come."

Countries such as Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Benin have been particularly hard-hit by the outages, with Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon also experiencing disruptions. The cause of the damage to the underwater cables is yet to be determined, further complicating efforts to restore connectivity.

This recent bout of internet downtime comes on the heels of another incident a month ago, when three telecommunications cables were severed in the Red Sea. The Internet Cable Protection Committee, along with the US, attributed the damage to the anchor of a cargo ship sunk by Houthi terrorists.

As a result of the damaged cables, an estimated 25% of internet traffic in the affected area has been disrupted. This has prompted customers who rely on these cables to seek alternative options to mitigate the impact on their daily activities and business operations.

Even major telecommunications companies like MTN and Vodacom have not been immune to the effects of the outages. Vodacom acknowledged that "multiple undersea cable failures between South Africa and Europe" were impacting network providers, while MTN reported service disruptions in West Africa.

Amidst these challenges, it is crucial for individuals and businesses to adapt and find ways to remain productive despite the internet downtime. Here are some tips to navigate this period of disruption:

  1. Leverage Offline Resources: Explore offline tools and resources that can help you continue working or staying connected, such as offline productivity software, books, or physical documents.

  2. Prioritize Tasks: Identify essential tasks that can be completed offline or with minimal internet access, and prioritize them accordingly.

  3. Communication Alternatives: Utilize alternative communication channels such as phone calls, SMS, or messaging apps that may not rely heavily on internet connectivity.

  4. Local Hotspots: Seek out local establishments or public spaces that offer Wi-Fi hotspots or internet access, such as cafes, libraries, or community centers.

  5. Plan Ahead: Anticipate potential internet outages and proactively plan for them by scheduling important tasks or meetings during times of higher connectivity.

By implementing these strategies, individuals and businesses can mitigate the impact of internet downtime and maintain productivity during periods of disruption. While the situation may pose challenges, it also presents an opportunity to explore alternative methods of working and staying connected in an increasingly digital world.

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