The Gambia faces internet shut down

3 Apr
On July 3, the National Assembly in Banjul, the Gambian capital, passed into law an amendment to the Information and Communication Act 2013, imposing stiffer sanctions on persons found guilty of using the internet to spread false news (Photo credit: whurleyvision)

On July 3, the National Assembly in Banjul, the Gambian capital, passed into law an amendment to the Information and Communication Act 2013, imposing stiffer sanctions on persons found guilty of using the internet to spread false news (Photo credit: whurleyvision)

Internet users in the tiny West African state of The Gambia will face an apparent internet shut down for up to a week as the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable goes down. Sources close to the gateway and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) said internet access will be adversely affected from 2nd to 9th April 2015. While netizens will be severely affected and online communication slowed, service providers and other businesses will have to bear the brunt of it.

“When the internet goes down like this, it affects not only our daily work but also our daily financial transactions,” a cashier at Trust Bank said. “We find ourselves in a sorry state having to turn away our customers by telling them that our connection is down.”

QCell, one of the GSM companies sent this message to its subscribers: “The ACE Cable will be down 2 Apr @11pm to 9 Apr. Limited Internet access will be available via QCell’s back-up link. We apologize for any inconveniences caused.”

In March 2014, the country experienced a 48-hour internet shut down due to “technical problems” according to authorities. However, shortly after the blackout popular chat and call apps, including Viber were blocked in the country.

According to Freedom House’s Internet Freedom report 2014, The Gambia is rank second with Sudan as countries with the most repressive internet restrictions trailing a few points behind Ethiopia, the most repressive country on the continent.

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