Cable Trouble Causes Internet Breakdown
For a long time, the Sat-3 fibre-optic link that runs up the west coast of Africa was the only way that South Africa could get their internet access. Before Seacom, the majority of our internet traffic travelled this line, and even since the installation of the new cable, a lot still does, especially traffic to Europe.
Except for this week.
Starting on Wednesday the 20th Jan, the Sat-3 cable started having problems. And as a result, a great deal of internet traffic was suddenly stranded, seriously compromising international access speeds across the country, especially yesterday, the 21st of January.
Not Just International Problems
As the traffic was diverted along alternative routes, they became more and more congested, even to the point of affecting local traffic, as saturated routes attempting to move data reduced internet speeds country-wide.
According to Telkom, the local Sat-3 operator, and the leader of the consortium that owns it, the problem was a case of maintenance going wrong. Technicians preparing to carry out routine maintenance on the stretch of cable made an error with the power units, and caused an outage in the cable.
According to reports, several major financial institutions had complete connectivity failures, while flights at OR Tambo International were severely delayed as staff were forced to check in passengers manually when their internet based systems went down.
The entire cable system, including the SAFE redundancy back-up system, allegedly went completely dead for at least an hour on Thursday afternoon.
At the time of writing, it appears that the fault has been corrected, and that connectivity has largely been returned to normal. If you had problems with your connectivity on the 21st, things should be getting back to normal again.