High-speed internet services in parts of east and southern Africa have been disrupted due to a fault in the new Seacom underwater fibre-optic cable.

The exact cause of the problem is still being investigated, but the private Mauritius-based telecommunications company that owns and operates the cable says it is believed to originate off the coast of Kenya. A ship has been dispatched to repair the fault although full internet services are unlikely to resume before six-eight days.

Launched in July 2009, the 17,000 km submarine cable links South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda to Europe and India, providing high-speed connectivity to businesses and private individuals in many parts of Africa. The BBC news website says that so far the fault has mostly affected home users as many local businesses have fall-back provisions in place for such eventualities.

Seacom is one of three high-speed submarine cable projects involving the east and southern African regions. The other two are Kenya