Telecommunications operators and Internet service providers are working to find alternative routes after another break in the West African Cable System (Wacs) — the third this year — threatens to slow down Internet access in South Africa.
The cause of the cable break, which took place between the UK and Portugal in the early hours of Saturday morning South African time, is not yet known. India’s Tata Communications is responsible for the section that is broken and must now begin the process of sending out a team to effect repairs.
In the interim, other undersea cable operators are making plans to carry the traffic along diverse routes to minimise the impact of the break.
Angola Cables, a member of the Wacs consortium, is, for example, providing alternative routing on the South Atlantic Cable System (Sacs), a new system that connects Angola and Brazil, with an onward connectivity to the US.
“The services that Angola Cables provides to its customers remain operational across the 11 Wacs cable contact points on the west coast of Africa,” the company said.
“Data connections and access to global content and services continue to be provided given the robustness and redundancy of the Angola Cables network. As a top priority, Angola Cables and the consortium of Wacs partners are working to restore the cable’s full capacity to impacted customers as soon as possible.”
Seacom working normally
Meanwhile, Seacom, which operates a cable system along the east coast between South Africa and Europe and South Africa and India, said that while the repairs on the Wacs system are being planned, many Internet service providers will need to reroute their traffic.
“As a result of the Wacs cable system issues, customers may experience increased latency (network round-trip times) as alternative routes are implemented,” Seacom said.
“Seacom is aware that due to issues on the Wacs cable system on Africa’s west coast, many African ISPs and their customers could be experiencing unstable or slower speeds when using the Internet,” it said.
“Seacom’s network platform is also affected by the Wacs issues, but as the Seacom cable system on Africa’s east coast is continuing to work normally, we will endeavour to provide ISPs that rely heavily on Wacs with diverse capacity.”
Pan-African operator Liquid Telecom said it has access to five cable systems providing international Internet connectivity in South Africa.
“The loss of the Wacs capacity is unfortunate, especially when demand has increased so significantly (due to the work-from-home rules associated with South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown). In our network, due to our resilient architecture, the loss of the Wacs capacity does not impact our ability to service our customers’ Internet demand.”
Liquid Telecom said its traffic is automatically rerouted when such outages occur.
“While we continue to monitor the situation, we do not expect any impact on our customers. Additionally, we have begun to service new demand from our customers this morning by providing them with additional capacity on our alternative routes during this Wacs outage,” the company said.
Dimension Data’s Internet Solutions said its international backbone also leverages multiple cable systems on both the east and west coast of Africa.
“Internet Solutions is, therefore, able to provide continued services to our clients connecting to any of our points of presence in Africa. Clients will, however, experience increased latency due to the rerouting of capacity via the east coast,” it said. — (c) 2020 NewsCentral Media