Google down south africa

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Internet slow during lockdown: Don’t blame the kids

A vital cog in South Africa’s communications network has been impacted by another cable break which has led to slow internet across the country.

Google down south africa

Image via Adobe Stock

South Africans may experience slow internet download speeds and increased latency on the first weekend in national lockdown.

The internet problems have nothing to do with the measures put in place by the government to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Another cable break leads to internet slow down

The West African Cable System (Wacs) has experienced a break in one of its cables, again. In January of this year, the same cable suffered a break. The effect of this break is not expected to be as severe as the previous incident as only one data cable has been impacted.

The South African National Research & Education Network (SA NREN) detected the disruption to services late on Friday night.

“We are observing our WACS capacity as down since 23h28 UTC/27th March 2020. A call has been logged with our provider for feedback. Traffic has failed over to SEACOM and EASSy cable systems, and there is currently no impact for SA NREN traffic,” the network said in a statement issued on Twitter.

“With the WACS and continued SAT-3 outages on the East Coast, SA NREN users working from home during the #Covid19SA #LockdownSA may experience issues if their home providers do not have sufficient capacity via alternate sub-sea cable systems.”

Internet Service Providers have acknowledged the break and are working to restore services on alternate paths.

It has been reported that the break is on a section of cable between England and Portugal. This has been confirmed by SA NREN.

“The cut is on the cable belonging to TATA and is between Highbridge (UK) and Seixal (Portugal). Information will be imparted as it is received from TATA via our WACS service provider. There is no recent update on this matter further to the one below.”

ISPs Afrihost, Axxess, Cool Ideas, MWeb, and RSAWeb have all sent out notices to their customers warning of disruptions to internet services.

Service providers have not been able to set a timeline for resolution of the issues with speed and latency. It is not clear at this stage if the break is in an undersea part of the cable, which is harder to repair, or on land. The level of the impact may vary between ISPs.

Other cables have picked up some of the slack, but speeds are expected to be impacted throughout the weekend to varying degrees.

We will bring you more on this story as it develops.