Wacs fix underway but internet slowdown could last a week

Amur S Lakshminarayanan MD and Group CEO Tata Communications 995x559.jpg

The West African Cable System (Wacs), which last week recorded its second break of the year to date, is undergoing urgent repairs that could see connectivity issues in South Africa continue until 4 April.

The most recent break was registered at 23:28 hours UTC on 27 March. Its cause is unknown, but the section of broken cable belongs to TATA Communications (CEO Amur S Lakshminarayanan, pictured), one of 12 stakeholders in the consortium of owner/ operators.

According to a Tweet from TENET, the operating partner of the South African national research and education network (SA NREN), the French-registered cable repair vessel, Ile D'Aix, is due to arrive on site on 31 March, with repairs currently due to be finalised by 4 April.

TENET said the break had “caused a degradation in international connectivity speeds for many Internet service providers in South Africa” and that slower speeds will impact all internet users “if their home providers do not have sufficient capacity via alternate sub-sea cable systems”.


On Sunday, RENAlerts assured those affected that it was doubling international bandwidth for SA NREN clients via the East Coast cable system and had activated an alternative path via the SACS subsea cable, to prevent further disruption.

WACS, which went live in May 2012, is a four-pair fibre system that stretches 14,500km, connecting 14 countries over two continents. Owned and operated by a consortium of international and African carriers, it was deployed with 10G technology and an initial design capacity of 5.12Tbit/s.