South Africa’s slow Internet – Expect better speeds soon

The RENAlerts service from SANREN and TENET has reported that the break on the West Africa Cable System (WACS) is expected to be fully repaired on Friday, 3 April 2020.

This follows initial splicing being completed on the afternoon of Monday, 1 April.

RENAlerts noted that the restoration date of 3 April may be subject to change.

“WACS Outage Update: Repairs are still in progress with the last reported planned ETR being late Friday 03/04/2020, but this could be subject to change,” it said.

The repair process is ongoing and on track with previously communicated timelines. Further updates to follow tomorrow.”

Cable breaks

Late last Friday night, a break was detected on a cable belonging to TATA, between Highbridge in the UK and Seixal in Portugal. The break was close to a landing station on the UK side of the cable.

It was possible to quickly dispatch a repair ship, the Ile D’Aix, to the location of the break.

The ship arrived at the break on 31 March and began work on the repairs immediately.

The SAT-3 cable, which also runs along the west coast of Africa, was also down following a break on 9 March but this has since been repaired by the Orange Marine repair ship Leon Thevenin.

The simultaneous breaks on WACS and SAT-3 caused degradation in international speeds for many Internet service providers in South Africa.

Now that the SAT-3 link has been repaired and the WACS cable is being restored to full service, however, South Africans should expect their international connection speeds to improve by the weekend.

Five major breaks in one year

The simultaneous breaks on WACS and SAT-3 are reminiscent of a similar situation earlier this year when both cables went down on the same day in January.

Both cables had breaks in the middle of the ocean, also off the coast of Congo, and WACS was affected by a second break near a European landing station.

Bad weather in Cape Town delayed the Leon Thevenin’s departure at the time, and South Africans were plagued with slow Internet for weeks until WACS was repaired.

The two cables were only fully restored on 19 February.

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South Africa’s slow Internet – Expect better speeds soon