TelOne, the government owned fixed line telephone and internet provider, has acknowledged that its internet was down for the better part of the morning. In an update sent out on Twitter and Facebook TelOne apologised for the downtime but didn’t offer any explanations for it.
TelOne sincerely apologises for the downtime experinced on our Internet service this morning. Service is now restored.
— Tel·One (@TelOneZW) July 6, 2016
Several users of TelOne’s ADSL service reported that the government owned internet provider totally blacked out its internet service from about 7AM in the morning to about 11AM. Information we received from sources indicates that TelOne data centre had “power problem” hence the outage. The power problem, we are told, somehow coincided with WhatsApp outage on most internet networks around the same time.
Rumours circulating are that Government may have instructed the internet providers to block access to social media, and for operators that could not achieve this technically, to block all access to the whole internet. The Zimbabwean Government, through its ICT minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, has however denied any hand in the WhatsApp and internet outage.
As TelOne is the custodian of the country’s .zw internet domain space, a blackout of their data centre meant that Zimbabwe’s domains were not being advertised to the internet anymore. If such blackout had last longer there’s the possibility that websites on the .zw space (like this one you’re reading now), would have become unavailable to internet users outside the country. Our suspicion though is that this was not intentional, but more collateral in the data centre’s “power outage”.
We sought comment on these issues from TelOne via email (and we also called them) more than 3 hours ago and haven’t received a response yet. We will update if we hear back from them. A similar effort to get comment from from POTRAZ has not yielded anything.
TelOne has about 70,000 subscribers who rely on its ADSL internet service.