SEACOM fault may take days to fix

Numerous ADSL users experienced international connectivity downtime today due to a problem on the SEACOM cable.  The problems started at around 11:00 on Monday and affected numerous ISPs, including Afrihost, Axxess and Internet Solutions.

SEACOM confirmed that services between Mumbai and Mombasa were down since 9:19 GMT (11:00 local time) on 5th July 2010.  At the time the company said that they were still investigating the exact cause of the downtime.

It has now emerged that a repeater failure on the SEACOM submarine cable is to blame for the downtime – a fault which may take a few days to fix.  SEACOM has confirmed that the fault will take ‘an extended period of time’ to fix.

Most ADSL service providers which make use of SEACOM bandwidth have already started to re-route international traffic via SAT-3/SAFE.

SEACOM responds

At 09:19 GMT, 5 July 2010, SEACOM experienced a submarine failure resulting in service downtime between Mumbai and Mombasa. Current investigations indicate that a repeater has failed on segment 9 of the SEACOM cable, which is offshore to the north of Mombasa. This unexpected failure affects traffic towards both India and Europe. Traffic within Africa is not affected.

SEACOM has initiated emergency repair procedures to replace the repeater. Once mobilised, the repair ship is deployed to the location of the fault to pick up the cable. The cable is then brought on board to undergo the repair – the faulty element is replaced with a new repeater – before being put back in the water.

Whilst the repair process itself will only take a few hours, the overall process may last a minimum of 6-8 days. The actual duration is unpredictable due to external factors such as transit time of the ship, weather conditions and time to locate the cable. For this reason, the estimated duration of this repair remains uncertain.

SEACOM, in co-operation with individual clients, is actively seeking alternatives to restore service whilst the repairs are undertaken.

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SEACOM fault may take days to fix