South Africa’s international connectivity speeds are expected to return to normal, as all of the breaks on the submarine cable systems running along the West Coast of Africa have now been repaired.
The two cable systems – WACS and SAT-3/WASC – link South Africa and several other African countries with Europe. These links provide the continent with fast international connectivity.
According to updates from the South African National Research Network (SANReN) and the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET), the break on the SAT-3 cable was repaired last night.
SAT-3 has been up and stable since 21h25 UTC last evening, 18/02/2020. The cable vessel has left the area.
— REN Alerts (@RENAlerts) February 19, 2020
The SAT-3 fix was performed by a crew on the cable-laying vessel the Léon Thévenin, which previously repaired another break on the WACS cable along the Congolese coast.
Connectivity has been restored on both lines, although the cable-laying vessel is still expected to head to offshore Ghana to attend to a power-related repair on the WACS cable.
Openserve, which provides capacity on the cables from its international clients to South African service providers, said that the mission is expected to be completed by 25 February.
Internet speeds affected
On 16 January, three simultaneous breaks on the two cables resulted in slow Internet for many South Africans who tried to access websites and content hosted internationally.
Several ISPs were affected by the breakdowns, while certain mobile operators also experienced slower speeds. Many gamers complained of higher latency when connected to international servers.
MyBroadband’s speed tests showed that Vodacom and MTN were almost unaffected by the issue, while Cell C and Rain’s international speeds were about half of their local speeds. Telkom took the biggest hit, with international speeds reduced to 5% of its local speeds.
Most providers alleviated issues by shifting traffic to additional capacity from the SEACOM cable running along the eastern coast of Africa.