The slow speeds of the internet are due to cable breaks in international links which service the country- the WACS and SAT3/WASC systems. The WASC and SAT3/WASC cable systems are deployed in the Atlantic Ocean and connect South Africa and many other African countries to Europe. The WACS system lands in South Africa at Yzerfontein Western Cape, while the SAT3/WASC system enters the country at Melkbosstrand Western Cape.
The international cable downtime has effected most large International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPs) in South Africa and we must expect continued slow internet speeds when connecting to international websites.
How is the broken cable going to be repaired?
Openserve, the South Africa’s largest telecommunications infrastructure provider has released a statement confirming that the process of repairing the broken WACS and SAT3/WASC cables has begun. The process was delayed due to Leon Thevenin being unable to leave Cape Town harbour due to heavy winds.
Leon Thevenin is the ship which is tasked with repairing the breaks. It is a cable layer that was built in 1983 (37 years ago) and is sailing under the flag of Mauritius. It is carrying capacity is 2900 t DWT and her current draught is reported to be 5.7 meters. her length overall is 107.82 meters and her width is 17.8 meters.
The ship was moved to the docking area, and the loading of the necessary tools and supplies for the repairs began and the preparation processes are running optimally. “The chief of mission anticipates that all loading will be complete by the the evening of Wednesday, 22 January 2020, should all go according to plan” said Openserve. Once this process is complete, the ship will travel to the location of the broken cables and will begin the necessary repairs.
Measure to minimize the impact
Openserve said it has been exploring options available from other undersea cables in a bid to find spare capacity that it could purchase. The deals have been concluded with several parties, and Openserve is activating additional international capacity.
“These measures will minimize some of the impact of having slow internet on its network while repairs to WACS and SAT3/WASC cable systems continue” said Openserve.