Zim’s Internet slows down as PowerTel & Econet fibre cables experience outage

8 Feb 2011

No InternetPowerTel and Econet, Zimbabwe’s main suppliers of international internet bandwidth both experienced some downtime on their fibre cables yesterday.

The PowerTel the outage started on Sunday, 6 February at about 1645hrs and lasted until yesterday night at 2235hrs. PowerTel says the cause of the outage was cut on the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation fibre cable in Botswana caused by a road construction company. BTC supplies PowerTel a 155mbs bandwidth pipe.

PowerTel’s CDMA mobile broadband service was affected by the downtime and PowerTel says it was restored today at midday.

It’s not clear when the Liquid Telecom (Econet’s fibre subsidiary) went down or when it was restored but Zim ISPs using the service notified customers yesterday through email that they were not sure when both cables would be restored. See this email below from Yo Africa – one of Zimbabwe’s largest ISP – to customers sent at about 4PM on 7 February 2011:


Our main international fibre connections via our upstream providers PowerTel and Liquid Telecom have both developed faults over the last 12 hours. These 2 fibre links feed a large portion of the international and regional Internet bandwidth into Zimbabwe. This affects all Service Providers utilising these links. We do not at this time have details of the exact nature of the faults and the time to resolution.

In the past, the PowerTel fibre cable going down meant most of Zimbabwe’s internet would slow down significantly as PowerTel was the only supplier of high speed fibre internet into the country. Lately, Liquid Telecom has been connecting some ISPs notably ZOL, and (as we’ve just learnt, Yo Africa) to its Fibre cable connected to Seacom.

We asked PowerTel what the operator is doing to prevent such outages in future seeing they have occurred a number of times recently and PowerTel Sales and Marketing Manager, Willard Nyagwande had this to say: “[We] Just [want] to tell our customers that we are left with at most 45km to get into Mozambique..That will provide the much needed redundancy/back up”


8 other comments

  1. in actual fact, Yoafrica network did not slow down. it completely cut off during the “outage”, with no backup which left all its network users completely offline during the downtime period. word has it that ZOL had managed to switch to a backup link that worked, but this may need confirmation.

  2. Even though Powertel managed to restore connection, they were still facing issues. Spoke to someone in powertel, seems they need to backup there tech guys as well. l feel Powertel is mostly letdown by there policy on tech guys

  3. i dont know if this id affecting me only powertel internet is extremely slow at the moment i am having to try atleast three times to open a page.oh this is disappointing cant get any work done.

  4. powertel service is shit. and they are not even going to compensate customers with an extra second, invoices come on time, just as efficient as the cut-offs. Are u sure this techzim site is not a product of these exploitative ISPs coz fronkly i think the coments are way too nice to describe the service we get from them.

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