Bad news for South Africa’s slow Internet

South Africans can expect continued slow Internet speeds when connecting to international websites in the week ahead.

The slow speeds are due to cable breaks in international links which service the country – the WACS and SAT3/WASC systems.

According to the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET), the ship which is tasked with repairing the breaks has not been able to leave Cape Town harbour.

“Winds persist in Cape Town which is delaying the departure of other vessels in addition to the cable repair vessel,” said TENET on Sunday evening.

On Monday morning, the organisation said there was “nothing new to report” with regards to the cable breaks.

Slow speeds

The international cable downtime has affected most large ISPs in South Africa, including Webafrica, Afrihost, Axxess, and Mind The Speed.

Many of these ISPs have posted network status updates citing the cable outages as the cause of their slow international connections.

ISPs are attempting to combat this, however.

Afrihost said it has purchased additional international bandwidth on other undersea cables to restore “Internet services to as close to normal as possible”.

“This is in addition to our existing failover capacity. This means that we will not be reliant on repairs to the damaged cables to deliver better international speeds and latency.”.

The ISP said it aimed to implement the additional capacity by today.

What a cable repair looks like

In 2017, SEACOM experienced an outage on its cable system located near Djibouti in the Red Sea.

The company’s subsea cable was damaged, and was repaired at the beginning of May 2017 by a cable-repair ship.

Images of the broken cable and its extraction are posted below, and were provided by SEACOM.

Machine-looks-for-the-cable-fault-on-the-ocean-floor_SEACOM-1

Cable-is-cut-on-ocean-floor-and-lifted-onto-the-repair-vessel_SEACOM2

The-repair-vessel-brings-the-damaged-cable-on-board_SEACOM

Cable-damage-on-the-S15-segment-of-the-SEACOM-subsea-cable_SEACOM3

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Bad news for South Africa’s slow Internet