US Embassy in Tanzania Closes Over Internet Outage

By Our Reporter




The US Embassy in Tanzania has closed for two days because of an internet outage affecting several East African countries.


“Due to degraded network service nationwide, the embassy will remain closed to the public,” the embassy said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday.


It cancelled all consular appointments for Tuesday and Wednesday and rescheduled them to a later date.


The embassy will, however, remain accessible for visa collections and for handling emergency cases involving American citizens.


The internet outage has persisted since Sunday morning, causing poor connectivity in Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.


Metrics shared by internet monitoring group NetBlocks on Monday showed that Tanzania has been worst hit by the outage.

The patchy service was a result of faults in the under-sea cables that connect the region to the rest of the world through South Africa, industry expert Ben Roberts told the BBC.


On Monday, some East Africans were still experiencing slow internet speeds with some telecom providers indicating that the issue was yet to be fully resolved.


Internet users in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda have been complaining about poor connectivity as service providers across East Africa acknowledge there has been a problem.


A similar outage was experienced in parts of West and Southern Africa in March.


Cloudflare Radar, which monitors internet connectivity, on Sunday said that Tanzania was one of the worst-affected countries with traffic falling to 30% of expected levels.


Tanzania’s Citizen newspaper described what has happened as an “internet blackout [that] has affected major network channels”.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, service providers have been fielding queries from frustrated customers.


Safaricom, also in Kenya, said it was “experiencing a challenge”.

Airtel Ugandan has said it was aware of the “intermittent internet service”. And MTN Rwanda said there was “an issue of degradation of international links”.


Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar have also been affected according to Cloudflare Radar.


Mr Roberts, from the pan-Africa company Liquid Intelligent Technologies, said that he had confirmed that one cable that runs alongside the coast of East Africa, known as Eassy, had been cut earlier on Sunday some 45km (28 miles) north of the South African port city of Durban.


Another cable was also cut. He ruled out the idea that it could be sabotage and said it was rather an unhappy coincidence.


Other cables linking East Africa to Europe are also available and gradually the service should improve as data is re-routed. But as a lot of big companies have data centres in South Africa the damage to the vital link that Eassy provides had a big impact.

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