SEACOM international bandwidth savior

The SEACOM submarine failure (which started on Monday morning) is severely affecting Internet services in South Africa, and according to the latest feedback from SEACOM it has initiated emergency repair procedures.

The full repair procedure, which revolves around replacing a faulty repeater which is situated around 4700m below the ocean surface, can take around a week to complete. “Whilst the repair process itself will only take a few hours, the overall process may last a minimum of 6-8 days,” SEACOM said.

This prolonged downtime is placing severe pressure on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which use mainly SEACOM bandwidth to serve their international connectivity needs, and alternative solutions had to be found quickly.

Some ISPs secured alternative capacity on the SAIX network, but SAIX quickly withdrew some of the additional capacity due to concerns over their bandwidth commitments to FIFA for the Soccer World Cup. 

It is understood that Telkom/SAIX is concerned about the amount of bandwidth which uncapped ADSL users consume.  It is therefore likely that service providers like MWEB and Internet Solutions are the most affected by the lack of SAIX capacity.

Telkom today said that they have not placed any additional clients on their SAT-3/SAFE system since the SEACOM problems occurred on Monday, but many clients with both SEACOM and SAT-3/SAFE capacity are obviously utilizing more capacity on SAT-3/SAFE than usual.

Telkom also denied reports that it has connected SEACOM clients to its SAFE Mtunzini landing station to provide them with international bandwidth.

SEACOM savior

SEACOM however announced today that it has successfully secured a number of restoration options for its clients through other international connectivity providers, including cable networks.

“This effectively provides customers with alternatives to re-route services and restore connectivity.  These restoration solutions are now being actively implemented,” said SEACOM.

SEACOM did not say exactly what its solutions were, but at least one of the alternative routes has now emerged to be TENET.

TENET issued a statement today explaining that during parts of yesterday and much of today, its SEACOM capacity has been available with intermittent outages.  “The technical reasons why TENET’s circuit is intermittently available while other circuits remain down are not known at this time,” TENET said.

“During this crisis period TENET has made, and will continue to make capacity available, to other SEACOM customers with which TENET has adequately sized interconnections. This is being done with SEACOM’s permission. In the circumstances there are of course no guarantees as to the availability of this capacity.”

TENET said that it will cease allowing third party traffic flows to these parties as soon as SEACOM is restored to full operational capacity.

TENET helping SEACOM customers out << comments and views

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SEACOM international bandwidth savior