Damaged WACS Subsea Internet Cable Undergoes Repairs

The West African Cable System, WACS, is being repaired after damage occurred on August 6, affecting Telecom Namibia's internet services.By Edgar Brandt, New Era Live
August 31, 2023

A cable repair ship was scheduled to arrive yesterday at the site where the West African Cable System (WACS) was damaged somewhere off the coast between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon. The damage to the WACS, which occurred on 6 August, definitely impacted Telecom Namibia as some services have been unavailable although the company has been rerouting traffic through other undersea cables to mitigate the impacts on customers.

The damaged cable, reportedly caused by sub-sea rock slides in the Congo Canyon, has hampered Telecom Namibia’s internet access to Points of Presence (PoPs) in Europe. Namibia connects to the SAT-3 submarine cable system (from Cape Town to Europe) which was also damaged in a similar fashion to the WACS.

According to Telecom spokesperson, Nomvula Kambinda, the repairs are expected to be completed by 8 September 2023, depending on the weather conditions.

“We are moving into week four, as the break occurred on the 6th of August 2023. The cable repair ship is en route to the site where the cable break occurred,” Kambinda told New Era.

She added the crucial sub-sea cable is being repaired by a consortium that includes Telecom Namibia, adding that the repairs are generally expensive and that cost estimates have not yet been concluded.

“The cause of the damage to the WACS is not yet confirmed. However, it is believed that the cable break was caused by a rock fall in the Congo Canyon. The damage occurred in the subsea between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon…Fortunately, the damage has no impact on the routes via WACS to the south, between Namibia and South Africa. Telecom Namibia has a reliable and extensive network with multiple paths within its national and cross borders network, and to its international Points of Presence (PoPs) in South Africa (SA),” Kambinda explained.

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