Nigeria loses over $593.6 million amid undersea cable repair

March 18, 2024
2 min read
undersea cables
  • NetBlocks, via its Cost of Shutdown Tool (COST), has revealed that Nigeria lost ₦273 billion ($593.6 million) in four days.
  • However, Top10VPN estimates that the West & Central Africa Internet outages cost $112.5 million (USD) up to midday on Friday, following the recent undersea cable damage that left users stranded on Thursday. That is based on an average loss of Internet connectivity for thirty-one hours.
  • Per the cost indicator, between Thursday, March 14, and Sunday, March 17, 2024, the country lost over 273.98 billion ($593.6 million) using the exchange rate as of May 2023.

NetBlocks, a cybersecurity and Internet governance watchdog, uses the Cost of Shutdown Tool (COST) to estimate the economic impact of an Internet disruption, mobile data outage, or app restriction using indicators from the World Bank, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and others.

Last Thursday, Techpoint Africa reported how several African countries suffer Internet disruptions due to undersea cable damage. According to the report, mobile network operators and Internet service providers were affected to varying degrees, resulting in poor connection quality for subscribers.

In Nigeria, the disruptions also affected some banks, as some customers were unable to carry out transactions via bank apps and USSD.

Following this development, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) confirmed the commencement of repair works on major undersea cables along the West African Coast on March 16, 2024. 

Meanwhile, telecommunication companies, banks, and other financial institutions have redirected their traffic to alternative service providers. While some providers have confirmed the restoration of the service, others are still in the migration process, causing delays and congestion.

Similarly, Ghana has revealed that the repairs on subsea cables could take five weeks. This follows a meeting held with the four subsea cable landing service providers — Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), MainOne, South Atlantic 3 (SAT-3), and the West Africa Cable System (WACS) — and mobile network operators.

In January 2024, Top10vpn, an international VPN review website, revealed that Internet shutdowns cost the global economy more than $9 billion in 2023, affecting 747 million people. Sub-Saharan Africa came in second after Europe, with $1.74 billion in losses spread over 30,785 hours and affecting 84.8 million Internet users. 

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