Repairs on two undersea cables that provide Internet and phone service to southern African nations have finally been completed after more than a month of disruptions.
That’s according to Openserve, the infrastructure arm of South Africa’s Telkom charged with coordinating the repairs on two damaged cable lines, the WACS and the SAT3/WASC.
“This concludes a long and complex restoration process of an unprecedented simultaneous cable break of two Atlantic Ocean based submarine cable systems,” the company said in its Wednesday statement.
“This catastrophe, that caused South African internet users reduced speed on international browsing and impacted international voice calling and mobile roaming, occurred in the early hours of 16 January 2020. South Africans can now breathe a sigh of relief as international connectivity capacity returns to normal.”
The damage to the 16,000-kilometer system, which connects from South Africa to the United Kingdom, arose from an as-yet unspecified source and created a “perfect storm” for telecom providers and their users in a number of other African nations that rely on the connectivity too.
Fixing the breaks, which were located in West African waters south of the Gulf of Guinea, was a complicated process fraught with weather delays. The Leon Thevinin was finally able to leave Cape Town on January 22 to begin the repairs, and has been at sea repairing the damage since.
“The ship will now proceed to its next location, offshore Ghana, to undertake a power-related (shunt fault) repair on the WACS cable. This fault is not affecting traffic on WACS,” the company said.
Openserve said it will conduct a full analysis of the unusual dual-cable break and evaluate how to minimize the impact on connectivity in the future.