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Efforts to fully restore communication in Tigray futile says Ethio Telecom

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Ethiopia , 15 Dec 2020

Telephone connectivity has been restored in Tigray, Ethiopia, but authorities have confirmed it “would be days” before the internet is reconnected due to damaged infrastructure.

The country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that while communication had been restored in other dozen cities as well, electricity remained a problem outside the capital.

Tigray has been under communication blackout since 4 November 2020, after Ahmed ordered a major military offensive against the region’s ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) following an attack by Tigray Special Forces on central government forces.

Ahmed said this week: “Some damaged communication infrastructure in the region have started working while others were being repaired so that internet communication services can also be restored.”

Telecommunications services provider Ethio Telecom recently admitted that phone communication in Tigray remained a challenge because all telecommunication lines to the Mekelle core site had been damaged during fighting.

Ethio Telecom CEO Frehiwot Tamiru said efforts by the company to restore communication in Tigray region were futile because of continued fighting, but that other infrastructure including redundant power supply lines (generators, batteries ad infrared-low capacity) were still functioning.

Tamiru said, “Experts and managers of Ethio Telecom tried to troubleshoot and restore the services but they failed and could not access the Mekelle core site because of the fighting. But overall, the Mekelle and Shire core sites remain undamaged except for the damaged lines connecting these sites to the base transceiver stations (BTS) that supply end user networks.”

Digital rights organisation NetBlocks has lambasted Ethiopian authorities for restricting mobile and online communications.

In July this year, Ethiopia shutdown the internet for almost a month after deadly protests following the assassination of activist and singer Hachalu Hundessa.

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