Tractor causes temporal internet shutdown in Zimbabwe

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Photo credit: Africanews

Zimbabweans on Tuesday suffered disruptions in the use of internet services and with the use of landline phones, leaving many to speculate whether the government had tampered with the connection.

The cause of the shutdown according to the Tech Zimbabwe website was due to the cutting of cables by a tractor not in Zimbabwe but on the South African side of their common border.

The website said: “A tractor that was ploughing a field in the Limpopo province in South Africa apparently cut through some fibre owned by one of Liquid Telecom Zimbabwe’s suppliers.” Liquid is said to be Zimbabbwe’s largest internet service provider (ISP).

We are upset that internet connectivity is not available or has not been available for most of the day.

Services have partially been restored as at late Tuesday. Tech Zim also reported that a another ISP, TelOne, had issued a statement about the situation and that it was also working to fully restore service to customers.

“TelOne wishes to advise the public of an unexpected interruption on our internet service experienced this afternoon, 5 December 2017.

“This is due to faults that occurred on our main links through South Africa and Botswana. Our back-up link through Botswana has since been restored and together with the link through Mozambique we are operating at 50% capacity,” it said.

Mobile operators in the southern African country were not spared the disruption. Econet Wireless, the largest mobile internet provider, was affected the most. NetOne and Telecel, the other competitors all reported difficulties with internet connections.

The government in officially responding to the situation said it was concerned that people had been gravely affected in their communications.

“We are upset that internet connectivity is not available or has not been available for most of the day,” Cyber Security minister Supa Mandiwanzira told a state-run paper, Herald.

In the recent past, Somalia and Congo Brazzaville have all suffered internet outages. In the case of Somalia, a shit cut submarine cables that supplied the country with internet whiles Congolese authorities said a similar accident by a Chinese fishing vessel at the port city of Pointe Noire was to be blamed for the close to two weeks outage in the Central African country.