South Africa’s internet cable repair delayed by Cape Town’s weather

ethernet cable internet markus spiske unsplash

Cape Town’s inclement weather this weekend has delayed repairs to the broken undersea cables that have affected South Africa’s international internet access since Thursday.

A cut-off low over the city this weekend, that resulted in heavy rain and gale force wind gusts in some parts, has forced a repair ship to remain docked in Cape Town’s harbour, according to the South African National Research and Education Network (TENET).

The ship was to assess a break in two cables connecting the UK and Europe to South Africa, namely the WACS and SAT3, which were discovered on Thursday.

Both cables land north of Cape Town but two breaks have been located off the coast of Gabon.

A third break was later found off the coast of the UK.

No estimated time for repair, says Afrihost

South African ISP Afrihost detailed the current repair efforts in a verbose Status Page update on Sunday afternoon.

“Our upstream providers report that adverse weather in the Western Cape has delayed the departure of the ship to effect repairs to international undersea cables. We currently do not have an ETR for final repairs to be completed,” it wrote.

It explained that some services, like international gaming servers and Twitter — which was down across South Africa for most of the weekend — have been “optimised for best performance” as the ISP rerouted traffic via alternative cables.

TENET added that the alternative route is provided by the SEACOM and EASSy cables, which land on South Africa’s eastern coastline, but this will affect load times for those on the western areas of the country.

The alternative routes however do not have sufficient capacity to meet demand, Afrihost added, so it’s likely that South Africans will still experience slow internet access for quite some time.

There’s also no estimated time of repair, while it’s not clear when the ship will be dispatched.

Rain and windy weather is set to remain over Cape Town on Sunday, finally clearing by Monday.

Feature image: an ethernet cable, by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

Andy Walker, former editor


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