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Camtel says vandalism to blame for SAT-3 fibre optic cut

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Cameroon , 13 Jan 2023

State-run telecommunications firm Cameroon Telecommunications (Camtel) has cited vandalism as the reason for a recent fibre optic outage on the terrestrial section of the South Atlantic Telecommunications cable no.3 (SAT-3).

The incident disrupted Camtel’s network and also impacted service delivery from third party MNOs.

A statement released by Camtel reads: “Our teams immediately mobilised, and quickly managed to control the impact of this new act of vandalism, based on investigations carried out on the field. Camtel is more than ever determined to offer all its customers the best possible quality of service.”

General Manager of Camtel Judith Yah Sunday has in the past complained that the company’s network infrastructure has been the target of vandals and that this crime was significantly undermining huge investments made by the government of Cameroon.

Yah Sunday has appealed to the public for help in combating the threat and help preserve Cameroon’s telecommunications infrastructure.

MTN Cameroon, Orange Cameroun and Nexttel have previously reported destruction of their infrastructure, notably antennas and transmission sites, in some parts of the country, especially in the restive English-speaking regions.

The Cameroon Employers’ Organisation (GICAM) said in addition to the systematic destruction of infrastructure worth hundreds of millions francs CFA, the telcos have experienced “a geometric fall in pre-tax turnover since 2016” when the conflict erupted.

The Cameroon Association of Telephone Mobile Operators (CATMO) said they registered at least 1,800 fibre optic cuts and 1,000 power cuts in 2022 alone, over twice the figure recorded in 2021.

In November 2022 the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Minette Libom Li Likeng told parliament the recent disruptions of services were due low investment by operators or the use of weak material or building tools that cannot support the increasing number of users.

The Minister also blamed the electricity power company ENEO for frequent power cuts which affect the supply of telephone network. 

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