Somalia internet outage is ‘major disaster’

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Somalia’s government says an ongoing internet outage is costing the country $10m (£7.7m) each day.

The outage affects southern Somalia, and was caused by damage to an undersea fibre-optic cable more than two weeks ago.

Somali Post and Telecommunications Minister Abdi Anshur Hassan has called the incident a “major disaster”, costing Somalia “more than $130m”.

He said the cable was being fixed and service will be restored “this week”.

After more than 20 years of conflict, internet usage is low in Somalia, with just 1.6% of the population in 2014, according to estimates by the International Telecommunication Union.

A woman wearing a niqab types at a computer in an internet cafe in Somalia
Image captionMany Somalis rely on internet cafes rather than 3G or satellite internet

That same year, 3G mobile phone services in southern Somalia were cut off because of a threat from al-Shabab Islamist militants and the ban has stayed in place ever since.

Satellite internet is available, but users complain that it is costly and slow.

Internet cafes have therefore proved popular in towns and cities, as they provide more reliable connectivity.

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