Submarine Cable Faults Cause Internet Connectivity Issues in South Africa and East Africa

Internet connectivity in South Africa and several East African countries has been significantly impacted by submarine cable faults off the East coast of Africa.

According to Ben Roberts, Group CTIO at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, all subsea capacity between East Africa and South Africa is currently offline. While South African users have reported poor Netflix performance and issues with other online services, Roberts stated that Internet services to East Africa have been severely impaired.

The EASSy (East African Submarine Cable System) and Seacom cables, both crucial for carrying the region’s voice, data, video, and internet traffic, have experienced confirmed faults. The EASSy cable, spanning 10,000km, connects countries in Eastern Africa to the rest of the world, while Seacom offers fibre-optic pairs from Mtunzini, South Africa, to Marseille, France.

Roberts ruled out sabotage, stating that the simultaneous failure of both cables was an unfortunate coincidence. He also mentioned that a triple cable cut in the Red Sea, impacting Seacom, EIG, and AAE1, remains unrepaired. These cables were likely damaged by a ship’s anchor after it was attacked by Houthi rebels.

Since around 17:00, South African Internet users have been reporting issues with various online services, according to Downdetector. NAPAfrica, a major Internet exchange point, also showed a significant dip in traffic around the same time.

Netblocks, an Internet observatory, reported that network data shows a disruption to internet connectivity in and around multiple East African countries, attributing the incident to failures affecting the Seacom and EASSy subsea cable systems.

Tanzania’s minister of information, communication, and IT released a statement confirming that the disruptions are caused by cable faults between Mozambique and South Africa. Cloudflare added that the faults on EASSy and Seacom cables are impacting Internet connectivity to Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar, with traffic dropping between 30% and 75% in affected countries.

This outage follows the recent 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, which occurred on 14 March, impacted the West Africa Cable System (WACS), Sat-3, Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), and MainOne cables. According to MainOne, the breaks were caused by a submarine landslide. Repairs to the affected cables were completed between early April and 10 May 2024.


Source: MyBroadband