Last Sunday the Internet died in Rwanda. At least it did for Rwandatel subscribers. For four days, data trickled through at a senile snail’s pace. I all but gave up on email and ended up negotiating work via SMS. I didn’t attempt to blog or add many news items. Skype calls, podcasts… forget about it…
It appears Rwandatel’s 075 100 customer service line was disconnected throughout the downtime – all calls I made were abruptly cut off. The subsequent lack of information helped spread rumours that Rwandatel technical staff were all in China for training (no idea if this is true).
Businesses, ministries and embassies reportedly went into slowdown while other users simply switched providers. Today, the “general problem” (reportedly damage to the SEACOM undersea cable) appears to have been fixed.
Some interesting points about the slowdown:
Tigo and MTN customers do not appear to have been affected by the same problem. The New Times talked to Rwandatel (and some cafe operators who preferred anonymity at cafes the New Times names…) about the Internet outage.
Media reports have indicated that the breakdown occurred on April 14 after the SEACOM marine submarine cable was damaged by a ship but repairs did not commence until April 25 and are scheduled to go on to until, Friday, April 30, 2010. link
Meanwhile, there were some interesting tips and advice about Internet and mobile providers on the Kigali Life email discussion forum. I’ll add the pertinent parts to this post as and when I get permission from the authors.
I hope the apparent reconnection I noticed this morning is stable and permanent. Not sure I’m quite ready for what would be the sixth house visit in eight months from a five man strong Rwandatel technical support team.