Ship could take two weeks to reach and repair undersea internet cable

Internet users have been experiencing slower speeds due to undersea cable breaks.
Image: 123RF/George Tsartsianidis

It could take at least two weeks for a ship to reach and repair one of two damaged undersea cables that have slowed down internet users in South Africa.

Infrastructure provider Openserve confirmed late last week that an “unusual and simultaneous dual cable break” had resulted in customers connected to Openserve’s global capacity clients “experiencing reduced speed on international browsing”. International voice calling and mobile roaming was also affected.

The break affected the South Atlantic 3/West Africa (SAT-3/Wasc) cable linking Portugal and Spain to SA, as well as the West Africa Cable System (Wacs) linking SA with the UK, reported Business Insider.

A cable-repair ship scheduled to fix one of the broken undersea cables has been stuck in Cape Town harbour over the weekend due to excessive winds.

“Telkom, who seem to be the main spokesperson for this, has said they can’t give an actual estimated time, but it could take six days to reach the location once the ship sets sail and then another week to repair it,” tech analyst Arthur Goldstuck told radio 702 on Monday evening.

“So we are looking at least two weeks, minimum, from today before it’s likely to be repaired.”

Goldstuck said some of the larger internet service providers had purchased additional international bandwidth, restoring their customers’ connectivity by Monday.

However, users with smaller internet service providers affected by the breaks were still likely to “feel the bite” as they may not necessarily have the resources to provide additional capacity.




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