In the digital age, our lives and daily activities are centered around mobile connectivity. From staying connected with family and friends through phone conversations, instant messaging, and communicating business decisions through emails and tools like Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams, there is constant need for communication. What happens when there is a network downtime and these activities come to a halt? Frustration, impatience, and anxiety are a few emotional responses that spring to mind.
Taking into consideration the importance of connectivity, one can only begin to imagine the disruptions caused by the network outage across Nigerian states on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. Coincidentally, the outage occurred when staying connected was especially crucial in light of the End Sars protests.
Various reasons are responsible for network outages. On some occasions, power outages, severe hardware failures, failed software and firmware upgrade or patches, or incompatibility between firmware and hardware devices are the culprits. On other occasions, such as this, network downtimes are caused by link failures due to fibre cable cuts. Following the recent network downtime, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has pinned the reason for the outage to a series of fibre cuts which occurred across major routes, resulting in congestion and poor network services. As a result, member operators are currently experiencing downtimes on their networks.
ALTON is a corporate body, registered under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as an Incorporated Trustee with the Nigerian Communications Commission as the official industry body for all providers of telecommunications and subsidiary services in Nigeria. The 20-year-old body promotes and support legislation that will enhance the quality of telecommunications practice and services in Nigeria and protect the collective interests of all telecommunications operators.
Since its inception, ALTON has played a developmental role in the telecommunications industry. It has continued to make critical interventions on behalf of its members on issues such as challenges of multiple taxations and regulations, rates and tariff determination, market competition, unfavourable government policies and network operation challenges.
To explain further the cause of the network downtime and elucidate the measures taken to ensure normalcy, the President, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo released a statement highlighting the cause of the network outage as well as the active steps taken by the body and telecommunications companies to fix the problem.
Although the curfew placed across a number of Nigerian states hindered the movement of engineers to attend to the issue, ALTON and its member operators, are ensuring that subscribers remain connected pending when the network problems are fixed.
Gbenga Adebayo, in his statement, revealed that “Engineers are working round the clock to access the sites while in the interim there are plans to optimize coverage from other hub sites, deploy mobile sites and reroute traffic on fibre links as a stop-gap solution to the most impacted locations.” He also appealed to those who have placed roadblocks across the states to grant access to site engineers to be able to access the affected locations to restore services.
Adebayo Gbenga is well-versed in the telecommunications industry. He currently serves as the Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer of Communication Network Support Services Limited, whose operations cuts across Telecommunication Network maintenance, Call and Contact Centre Service, Media, Broadcasting; Agriculture; Hotels and Hospitality Services, Medical and Hospital Services. He is also the President and Founder of Royal FM 95.1Mhz, the first private FM Radio Station in Ilorin, North Central Nigeria.
With efforts by ALTON and its member operators to restore normalcy and the slow but steady improvement with connectivity, subscribers can be confident that the disruptions caused by the network outage are nearly coming to an end.