The repair ship meant to fix damaged undersea cables has yet to receive the go-ahead to leave Cape Town harbour. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
The repair ship meant to fix damaged undersea cables has yet to receive the go-ahead to leave Cape Town harbour. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

SA's slow internet: Service providers buy more bandwith with cable repair ship stuck

By Staff Writer Time of article published Jan 20, 2020

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Cape Town – The Leon Thevenin – the repair ship meant to fix damaged undersea cables, but which has been stuck in Cape Town harbour due to strong winds – has yet to receive the go-ahead to leave the harbour.

The frustration users have experienced with a slow internet across Africa was due to the damage caused to the South Atlantic 3 undersea fibre cable near Libreville, Gabon – which links Portugal and Spain to South Africa – and the West Africa cable system near the Congolese coast – which links South Africa with Britain.

Even though winds are expected to subside today, with the harbour master likely to give the Leon Thevenin the all-clear – some internet service providers – have been purchasing alternative bandwith to remedy the situation amid the uncertainty when exactly repairs would be be completed.

Afrihost posted on Twitter last night: "We have purchased additional international capacity to improve international performance. This means that we will not be reliant on repairs to the damaged cables. 

"We hope to implement additional capacity this evening or tomorrow morning."

Axxess announced at 9am today that it would be purchasing additional bandwidth. WebAfrica has also procured additional capacity through Seacom.

South African users reported problems with MTN’s and Vodafone’s networks at the weekend, with access to Twitter also being affected. 

Web company Amphibic Design told the Cape Times yesterday: “Service providers are diverting traffic through another undersea cable, SEACOM/EASSy, which runs alongside the eastern coast of Africa.

“This ensures that South Africans can still access the internet, but it is also slowing internet access. It is unclear when the cables will be operational again.

“Both the WACS and SAT3 cables providing international connectivity between South Africa and international locations were knocked out on Thursday.

“These breaks are having a major impact on internet connectivity.”

Cape Times

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