South Africa has recently grappled with a substantial disruption in its internet connectivity due to the unfortunate damage sustained by two critical undersea communication cables, namely the West Africa Cable System (WACS) and the South Atlantic Telecommunications Cable number three (SAT-3), occurring in the Congo Canyon.
These unforeseen cable failures have reverberated across the region, impacting network operators and internet users alike, resulting in delayed website loading times and potential service interruptions.
Corridor Africa CEO Matone Ditlhake says while these subsea cables largely remain hidden from public view, they serve as essential conduits for global internet connectivity, enabling the rapid transmission of telecommunications signals worldwide, thus facilitating seamless internet access and communication.
“As a direct consequence of these cable outages, South African network operators have grappled with increased strain on their network capacities, leading to heightened traffic volumes and challenges in promptly addressing these issues,” he explains.
Service providers vary in their dependence on the affected cables, leading to discrepancies in the severity of disruptions experienced. Consequently, some entities may encounter more significant impacts than others.
The initial disruption in traffic flow, stemming from the cable damages, is expected to have a particularly notable effect on customers utilising international private leased circuit services. To counteract these challenges, certain mobile operators have taken proactive steps, including bolstering capacity on unaffected cable routes and conducting traffic engineering to alleviate potential bottlenecks.
Despite these concerted efforts, it’s important to note that websites hosted in the US or Europe may still experience delays or service failures when accessed from South Africa, and vice versa, owing to the reduced international capacity. Internet service providers are diligently labouring to restore full capacity while concurrently embarking on the extensive repair process, which is estimated to span several weeks.
Currently, the maintenance and repair of these undersea cables are in progress, with the cable ship, the Leon Thevenin, actively engaged in repair operations near Kenya. Weather permitting, we anticipate the cables will be fully restored to operational status by the second week of September.
Corridor Africa Technologies is steadfastly monitoring the situation and working in close cooperation with South African telecommunications companies to minimise the impact of these disruptions and ensure the swift reestablishment of dependable internet connectivity for all users.
“We sincerely appreciate the understanding and patience exhibited by South African internet users during this period of inconvenience. Rest assured, every possible effort is being exerted to expedite the restoration process and enhance internet connectivity throughout the region,” he concludes.