TeleYemen expresses relief for the return of internet services on Thursday 13.02.2020 following completion of the repair process of the Falcon Sea cable in a record time evidencing the credibility and professionalism of TeleYemen and the Public Telecommunications Corporation. Despite the return of internet services, TeleYemen is still warning that the risk of service interruptions is still standing due to the blockade on the company forcing the Company to rely on the Falcon sea cable as a single source for internet services as the company is unable to use other alternatives it owns. These alternative capacities are summarised below:
Sea Cable AAE1 – Landing Station in Aden:
TeleYemen invested in the sea cable AAE-1 and its landing station in Aden. TeleYemen has big capacities on this cable and the cost of it was up to 40 million US dollars. This cable construction process was still in its early stages when war erupted in March 2015. TeleYemen could have frozen the construction of the sub cable and the landing station in Aden by invoking the force majeure clauses. However, and out of the sense of responsibility and its keenness to adhere to the principles of professionalism and impartiality, TeleYemen continued the construction process until the cable entered into service and became available for use in September 2017. Unfortunately, the Company was prevented from using its own capacities on that cable as some parties stormed the landing station in Aden and blocked the connection of any capacities.
Sea Cable SMW5
TeleYemen also invested, and owns big capacities, in the Sea Cable SMW5 with an investment of 29 million US Dollars. Although the cable is in service since March 2017, TeleYemen never used its capacities as the sub-cable to Hodeidah city was not constructed due to the current security situation in the area.
The Sea Cable Aden – Djibouti
TeleYemen owns some limited backup capacities on the sea cable Aden – Djibouti. As stated in the previous statement, the Company uses the limited capacities on this cable and updated it in 2013 and this allowed the Company to continue providing limited internet services during the breakage of Falcon sea cable. However, the landing station in Aden was stormed on Thursday 30.01.2020 by some parties that deliberately disconnected these backup capacities and led to the almost complete shutdown of internet services.
TeleYemen affirms that the continued illegal practices of these parties preventing the Company from using its own alternative routes clearly indicates to the ill-intentions and the deliberate deprivation of citizens of a basic human right of theirs. These practices adversely affect various other sectors such as the sectors of relief, education, health and media. The business community has also suffered great losses. This represents a crime under all international covenants and laws. The attempts of these parties to deny their illegal practices to mislead the public opinion will not relief them from their legal and human responsibilities. TeleYemen reserves all its legal rights in suing all those involved in these practices at local and international levels.
TeleYemen also highlights the repercussions of the protracted blockade and the prevention of entry of necessary spare parts and equipment for the continued operation of existing services and further developing the infrastructure of the telecommunications sector to move into new technologies (4G and 5G) to provide improved broadband and IT services. TeleYemen asserts that these measures are illegal as they curb the ability of the telecommunications sector in ensuring its continued services leading to depriving citizens and all other sectors from these services.
In this context, TeleYemen reiterates its call to the international community to neutralise telecommunication services and shield them against the complexities of the ongoing conflict as these services have become a basic human right protected by international laws. TeleYemen further calls upon the international community, including the United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen and the ambassadors of the European Union to lobby to allow the company to use its own internet capacities in various sea cables landing in Aden City and to facilitate the completion of the sub-cable SMW5 to the landing station in Hodeidah to provide necessary internet service capacities in Yemen and to reduce the risks of service interruptions.
In conclusion, TeleYemen stresses that standing against these illegal practices is a collective responsibility that requires the mobilization of citizens and civil society organisations; trade unions and the private sector to defend this basic human right.