South African Internet users who are experiencing slow international connectivity speeds will have to wait at least 12 more days until the issue is resolved.
This is according to a tweet by the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET), which stated that the WACS cable is only expected to be repaired on 8 February.
“Leon Thevenin on its way to the WACS S1i cable grounds,” TENET said. “We have a provisional repair date of the 8th February for the WACS cable system.”
“SAT-3 will be attended to thereafter. This information may be subject to change.”
Leon Thevenin is the name of the cable repair ship which set sail from South Africa to repair the broken submarine fibre cables last week.
Simultaneous breaks on both the WACS and SAT-3/WASC cable systems have left many South Africans with slow Internet connections to international websites.
The cable systems are deployed in the Atlantic Ocean and connect various African countries to Europe – including South Africa.
The WACS system enters South Africa at Yzerfontein in the Western Cape, while the SAT3/WASC system enters at Melkbosstrand, also in the Western Cape.
Slow Internet speeds
MyBroadband asked various ISPs what effect the cable breaks had on their networks, and many said backup plans were executed to minimise potential downtime.
CyberSmart, MWEB, Cool Ideas, Mind the Speed, and RSAWEB all said the break had minimal to no effect on their networks due to redundancies they have in place.
WebAfrica said the breaks had initially had a major effect on their customers, but this has now been minimised as the ISP replaced the missing capacity with capacity from Seacom.
Tests conducted by MyBroadband also found that MTN and Vodacom were virtually unaffected by the breaks, while Rain and Cell C’s international speeds were roughly half of their local speeds.
Telkom performed the worst of all mobile networks, with international speeds only reaching 5% of local speeds.
While these speeds may improve upon successful repair of the WACS cable, they may only reach their previous levels when the SAT-3 cable has been repaired, which may take significantly longer.
Photos of the Leon Thevenin cable repair ship are below.