The damaged West African Cable System (WACS) and the South Atlantic 3 (SAT-3) undersea cables that have considerably slowed down internet services in southern Africa would likely take months to fix. This is due to the current location of the specialised cable repair vessel, the Léon Thévenin, which is supposed to undertake the repair.
In an unforeseen turn of events, a rockfall within the Congo Canyon inflicted significant damage to the undersea cables according to reports from MyBroadband.
The incident, which occurred on a Sunday, significantly impacted network connectivity within that region. The precise location of the cable breaks has been pinpointed using the systems’ advanced Coherent Optical Time Domain Reflectometer, identifying the fault zone to be situated between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon.
The SAT-3 connection was suddenly cut off on Sunday morning, and later that evening, the WACS network experienced unexpected downtime. This unforeseen break in the undersea cables has caused concern, and Telkom’s team is working hard to fix the issue.
Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, Openserve, a division of Telkom responsible for wholesale and network operations, has verified the cable breaks and offered reassurance regarding the minimal operational impact.
“We are collaborating with the consortium partners to facilitate the restoration of these cables,” an Openserve spokesperson commented.
Regrettably, due to the location of the incident site, approximately 3,600km northwest of South Africa, a realistic timeline for repair efforts has emerged. Experts estimate that it will likely take a span of one month, possibly stretching into September, for a specialised cable repair vessel, the Léon Thévenin, to navigate its way to the fault site, contingent on when it is done with the current repairs ongoing on another cable system.
The cable-laying ship, Léon Thévenin, designated for deep-water repairs, is a crucial player in the restoration efforts. Its arrival at the WACS fault site is projected within the initial weeks of September, dependent on prevailing weather conditions.
Openserve says impact of undersea cable break contained
Openserve said the impact on its network was limited to customers using international private leased circuit services. While the situation has posed some challenges for the affected network, Openserve has managed to mitigate the impact on its operations through strategic investment in alternative international cable capacities.
“The Openserve network remains robust due to our investment in other international cable capacities; hence, all Openserve IP Transit Services (WebReach) traffic has been automatically re-routed,” it said.
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