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South Africa’s Critical Internet Cables Are Now Fixed

At 01:30 this morning, Openserve received confirmation that the cable ship Leon Thevenin has restored South Africa’s international connectivity.

It brings to an end a long and complex restoration process that took almost 34 days to fix, after an unprecedented simultaneous cable break of two Atlantic Ocean based submarine cable systems – the South Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable (Sat-3/Wasc) and the West African Cable System (Wacs), said Openserve in a statement.

The latest repair, a portion of the Sat-3/Wasc undersea cable, was completed offshore of the Congo. According to the South African National Research and Education Network, the line was normalized at approximately 21:25 last night. 

Now gamers and streamers alike can breathe a heavy sigh of relief as international internet capacity should be back to normal – which means your speeds should be back to normal as internet service providers won’t need to share the traffic on alternative lines.

“This catastrophe, that caused South African internet users reduced speed on international browsing and impacted international voice calling and mobile roaming, occurred in the early hours of 16 January 2020.”

The previously estimated time of return was put on February 8, work time of 11 days.

The vessel departed Cape Town Harbour on the evening of Wednesday, 22 January, and has been out on open water affecting the repair processes, at multiple break locations, since.

The ship will now proceed to its next location, offshore Ghana, to undertake a power-related (shunt fault) repair on the Wacs cable – the fault does not affect traffic.

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 its internal close-out procedure, the relevant teams in Openserve will, over the next few weeks, analyze the full impact of this unusual dual break on its international connectivity capacity.

This exercise will be conducted with a view to minimizing, and possibly mitigating, the impact on the South African broadband eco-system should the country find itself dealing with a similar catastrophic event in the future.


Written by Mathew

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