Internet connectivity to and from South Africa and much of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa was undermined severely on Thursday after two cable systems experienced significant problems.
Seacom, the cable system which runs along Africa’s east coast from South Africa to Europe, was experiencing major problems on Thursday afternoon, while the West Africa Cable System (Wacs), which connects Yzerfontein north of Cape Town to London, had also experienced difficulties with an onward terrestrial connection in the UK.
Seacom confirmed to TechCentral shortly after 5pm on Thursday that it was experiencing a critical outage that began at 4.06pm South African time.
“Seacom is experiencing multiple outages on the terrestrial network across Egypt,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.
“All our international connectivity through Egypt has been affected since 14:06GMT on 21 January 2016,” it said.
“Repair teams have been dispatched. Seacom continues to monitor the situation closely and will provide necessary updates.”
(Update: Seacom said the faults in Egypt were successfully repaired at 6.46pm South African time and that traffic is once again flowing across its network.)
Meanwhile, a senior telecommunications industry executive, speaking to TechCentral on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the Wacs cable consortium, confirmed that a terrestrial fault in the UK, somewhere between the Wacs cable landing station and a telecoms centre in London, had caused problems with connectivity earlier on Thursday.
That problem was likely to be fixed soon, the source said.
(Update: The Wacs cable was returned to full service at 10.32pm on Thursday evening.)
The outages have reportedly impacted both mobile and fixed Internet service providers across sub-Saharan Africa. — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media