The West African Cable System (WACS) is in the news again, with continuing outages affecting South Africa for at least another few days.
The outages are never welcome, but in this case have been particularly troublesome for South Africans, who are trying to work (or use the internet for social purposes) from home, after Friday’s countrywide lockdown, which was put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The good news is that South Africa’s internet could be back to normal by this weekend – 4 April, to be precise. Local press reports indicate that a repair ship, the Ile D’Aix, is on its way down the English Channel towards the site of the cable break, according to information from the South African National Research & Education Network (SANReN).
SANReN is managed and implemented by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Next Generation Enterprises and Institutions cluster, and is a key component of South Africa’s National Integrated Cyberinfrastructure System (NICIS).
This break, along with a second break along the South Atlantic Telecommunications (SAT-3) cable offshore Congo, has led to slow internet speeds over the weekend.
Repairs to the SAT-3 break are currently underway by repair ship the Leon Thevenin, which operates from Cape Town. The estimated repair date is 2 April.
The SAT-3 fault is not far from a previous break, reported in January. This break was apparently caused by a short circuit, local news reports have said. The short circuit, in turn, was caused by pressure on the cable from being trapped under heavy sediment carried by the flow of waters from the Congo River into the submarine canyon where the cable runs.