WACS cable break slows down South African Internet speeds – again

South Africans dealing with the disruption and frustration of a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus are also confronting slowdowns in internet speeds.

Two of the undersea cables that connect South Africa to the global network are again suffering outages, dragging down mobile and landline data speeds nationwide. The slowdown comes as workers and students confront the challenges of staying at home because of Covid-19. 

The West Africa Cable System (WACS), a submarine fiber-optic line that carries data between the UK and the west coast of Africa, tore on Saturday about 24 miles from Britain in roughly the same spot that the cable broke in January.

The break, which is requiring providers to reroute traffic to cables that drape the continent’s east coast, is at least the third fault to plague the WACS so far this year. 

“We are aware of increased latency, slow speeds due to damaged undersea cables, affecting most ISP’s,” Axxess, an ISP that serves cities across South Africa, told customers on Saturday. It is not expected to be repaired till Saturday, April 4.

There is likely to be some slowdowns or disruptions in other African countries as the WACS cable serves several other territories along the western coastline of Africa including Namibia, Angola, DR Congo, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria among others.

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