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Sunday, August 29, 2010

AARGHH! ROAD CONTRACTORS AND SAFCOM'S CABLE

The last thing Safaricom wants at a time when it is locked in a vicious price war primarily with original foe Zain as well as the other two mobile operators in the market, is a failing network.

Which is what happened today. Internet services were down.

The most dialled number by IT guys in different companies today was 0722 002222. That is the internet support service line for Safaricom. For a company that buys bandwidth from Safaricom, those are the guys you deal with.

For most part today (Sunday, 29th August 2010), calls to this line went to recorded instructions as Safaricom guys worked to get their services back on track.

From early morning to early afternoon, internet services, mobile phone calls as well as M-PESA services were down on Safaricom's networks.

It transpired that some road contractor working in the Upper Hill area, near Britak, bulldozed through optic-fiber cables laid alongside the road and in the process severed lines belonging to at least three cable operators.

Maximum impact was felt by Safaricom subscribers because Jamii Telecom, on whose metro-fiber Safaricom rides, was one of the casualties.

John Kamau of JTL said it took them almost until 2 O'Clock to fix the problem. In the meantime, Safaricom's services like corporate internet in offices, mobile internet service, GSM calls and even M-PESA were affected.

Kenya Data Networks (KDN) was also affected. In fact, KDN suffered two cuts, at Upper Hill and at Museum Hill where China Wu-Yi are putting up that interchange to link Uhuru Highway with Thika Road.

Vincent Wang'ombe, KDN's marketing manager said the company was working to fix the problem by end of the day today which should see all customers back online.

Both JTL and KDN complained that contractors have been haphazardly cutting their cables and now want government to recognize fiber cables as crucial infrastructure.

Water and power lines, they said, are usually given ample time to shift from the construction area.

Safaricom in the meantime was back in service shortly after 2PM. Media Houses had hitherto had a hard time reaching key personnel to get the official line perhaps making the case for even dyed-in-the-wool Safaricom staff to also maintain another operator's line in case of such disruptions.

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