Good News for South Africans With Slow Internet
By Jan Vermeulen, MyBroadband
February 7, 2020
The repair to a break in the West Africa Cable System (WACS) submarine fibre cable has been completed two days ahead of schedule.
The update comes from the South African National Research Network (SANReN), and the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET).
End-to-end connectivity on WACS will be restored once a second break in the cable near the United Kingdom is attended to.
It is estimated that the UK break will be repaired on 12 February. This is much earlier than previous estimates, which suggested that repairs to the WACS cable could take as long as three weeks.
According to SANReN and TENET, the cable vessel in the UK is docked at Avonmouth to pick up bunkers. It will proceed to the repair site “in the next day or so”.
The cable-laying vessel currently off the west coast of Africa, Léon Thévenin, appears to be making its way to the break in the SAT-3 cable.
Openserve, Telkom’s wholesale and networking division, previously indicated that the restoration of SAT-3 services is estimated to be finished by 17 February.
Internet speeds affected
Multiple ISPs have said their international connectivity has been affected by the cable breaks, and tests by MyBroadband show that mobile operators are also negatively affected.
Based on the tests, MTN and Vodacom were virtually unaffected by the breaks, while Rain and Cell C’s international speeds were roughly half of its local speeds.
Telkom, which owns stakes in WACS and SAT–3, suffered the worst of all mobile networks, with international speeds of only 5% of local speeds.
WACS is one of the highest capacity cables that connects Africa to the rest of the world.
South Africa’s largest Internet service providers all form part of the WACS consortium including Vodacom, Telkom (Openserve), Liquid Telecom, MTN, and Broadband Infraco.