Internet in Yemen : A Tale of Woe

Thu, Aug 8, 2013

Haykal Bafana paints a sad picture of the state of internet access in Yemen.

Each time a saboteur cuts the fiber optic lines in Marib, Internet access in Sanaa and even eastern Yemeni regions such as Hadhramaut are affected severely. Many have asked me before : why should a sparsely populated desert area like Marib be so critical to Yemen’s Internet service? A detour into the murky history of Yemeni telecommunications is necessary.

Despite some of the world’s most important undersea cable networks 1 passing through Yemen’s maritime borders and one of them having two landing points 2 inside Yemen, the country’s sole internet provider buys internet from Saudi Arabia’s STC.

It is a fascinating story about the confluence of politics, corruption and technology.

  1. I-ME-WE, Europe India Gateway, EASSy and Falcon pass through Yemeni maritime borders. Greg’s Cablemap provides an interactive map of the under sea cable system. [return]
  2. Falcon has landing points and Al Hudaydah and Al Ghaydah. [return]