More Africa NewsSouth Africa: Damaged Wacs cable only likely to be fixed on 8 February

January 28, 2020by myles

The Wacs cable, one of two cable systems damaged earlier this month due to a suspected undersea earthquake, will probably only be fixed on 8 February.

That’s according to Tenet, the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa, which operates the National Research and Education Network in the country’s higher education sector.

In a tweet on Monday, Tenet said the repair ship, the Leon Thevenin, is on its way to the location of the Wacs cable break. “We have a provisional repair date of 8 February for the Wacs cable system,” it said. It cautioned that “this information may be subject to change”.

The break in the Sat-3 system will only be attended to after the Wacs fault is repaired, Tenet said.

Wacs, a newer system than Sat-3, has a much higher capacity and its restoration should go a long to alleviating the slow Internet experienced by some South African consumers ever since the breaks occurred on 16 January.

The Leon Thevenin set sail from Cape Town on 22 January. It left the harbour later than expected after it was delayed by gale-force winds. The ship, with 54 crew members on board, has been charged with fixing both cable faults.

Both cables connect South Africa to Europe via the west coast of Africa.

‘Robust and stable’

In a statement earlier on Monday, the Internet Service Providers’ Association said it is a testament to the robustness of South Africa’s Internet infrastructure that the cable breaks haven’t caused more problems for local users.

“Although Internet speeds decreased, the Sat-3 break proved the local Web is a robust and stable system that is today less reliant on international communication gateways since the creation of South Africa’s Internet exchanges,” said association co-chairman Guy Halse.

“It is worth pausing for a moment to consider how far we have come. A Sat-3 cable break 15 years ago would have meant no international connectivity at all and extremely limited local content and services. In 2020, however, redundancy created by multiple undersea cable systems and a mature yet dynamic local peering ecosystem means that breaks in two different cable systems has had a limited and manageable impact on local users,” Halse said.  — (c) 2020 NewsCentral Media

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