International Connectivity Fully Restored As WACS, SAT-3 Return to Service

International connectivity has been fully restored after two cable breaks on the WACS cable and one on the SAT-3 were repaired.By Tech Central
February 19, 2020

More than a month after freak simultaneous submarine cable breaks disrupted Internet access in South Africa and other African countries, international connectivity has been fully restored.

Two cable breaks on the Wacs cable and one on the Sat-3/Wasc system, both of which connect South Africa to Europe along the west coast of Africa, led to slow Internet access for some users.

All the faults have now been repaired, Telkom’s wholesale division, Openserve, said in a statement.

“In the early hours of this morning (approximately 1.30am), Openserve received confirmation from aboard cable ship Leon Thevenin, that the portion of the Sat-3/Wasc repair off the shore of Congo has now been completed,” it said. The cable breaks took place on 16 January.

The maintenance and operations sub-committees of both cable consortia tasked their respective restoration processes to a single chief of mission on the Leon Thevinin. The vessel departed Cape Town harbour on the evening of Wednesday, 22 January, and has been out on open water effecting the repair processes, at multiple break locations, since.

‘Internal close-out’

The ship will now proceed to its next location, offshore Ghana, to undertake a power-related (shunt fault) repair on the Wacs cable, Openserve said. This fault is not affecting traffic on Wacs. “If conditions allow, the entire mission is still set to be completed around 25 February with the vessel returning to dock in Cape Town.”

As part of an “internal close-out procedure”, Openserve will, over the next few weeks, analyse the full impact of the cable breaks on its international connectivity capacity. “This exercise will be conducted with a view to minimising, and possibly mitigating, the impact on the South African broadband ecosystem should the country find itself dealing with a similar catastrophic event in future,” it said.

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