Big Internet cable faults cause connectivity problems


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Internet connectivity in South Africa has been hit by submarine cable faults off the East coast of Africa.


Liquid Intelligent Technologies group CTIO Ben Roberts confirmed on Twitter that all subsea capacity between East Africa and South Africa was offline.


While South African users were complaining about poor Netflix performance and issues with some other online services, Roberts said Internet services to East Africa were severely impaired.


Roberts said there was a confirmed fault on the EASSy cable and that they were observing a fault on the Seacom cable that occurred at the same time.


EASSy is a 10,000km undersea fibre optic cable system connecting countries in Eastern Africa to the rest of the world.


The cable is a core telecommunications component carrying the region’s voice, data, video, and internet traffic.


BBC reported that there was a fault on Seacom.  Seacom offers fibre-optic pairs from Mtunzini in South Africa to a point of presence (PoP) in Marseille.


The report quoted Roberts as saying they had ruled out sabotage and that both cables going down was an unfortunate coincidence.


Roberts also reported that a triple cable cut in the Red Sea impacting Seacom, EIG, and AAE1 remains unrepaired. The cables were likely damaged by a ship’s anchor after it was attacked by Houthi rebels.


According to Downdetector, South African Internet users have been reporting issues with various online services since around 17:00.


Some tech-savvy users also reported that their Netflix traffic was coming from international servers rather than the ones in South Africa.


Major Internet exchange point NAPAfrica also shows a major dip in traffic around 17:00.


Internet observatory Netblocks said network data show a disruption to internet connectivity in and around multiple East African countries.


“The incident is attributed to failures affecting the Seacom and EASSY subsea cable systems,” it said.


Tanzania’s minister of information, communication, and IT released a statement saying the disruptions are caused by cable faults between Mozambique and South Africa.


Cloudflare added that faults on EASSy and Seacom cables are impacting Internet connectivity to Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar.


The company added that traffic dropped between 30% and 75% in impacted countries.


This outage comes shortly after the repair of a quadruple cable break in West Africa off the coast of Côte d’Ivoire near Abidjan, which disrupted traffic between South Africa and Europe.


The faults occurred on 14 March and impacted the West Africa Cable System (WACS), Sat-3, Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), and MainOne.


According to MainOne, the breaks were caused by a submarine landslide.


Repairs to Sat-3 were completed in early April, while a second cable ship was dispatched and en route to repair the other three cables.


The ACE cable was repaired on 17 April 2024. WACS suffered two breaks, which were repaired on 30 April. MainOne’s announced that its cable was repaired on 10 May.


NAPAfrica traffic dip followed by recovery on 12 May 2024

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

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