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Undersea cable outages leave millions of South Africans electronically adrift

Undersea cable outages leave millions of South Africans electronically adrift
Microsoft reported that it was investigating the undersea cable outage, which had left users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa unable to access one or more Microsoft 365 services.(Photo: Jeenah Moon / Getty Images)

It’s the second time in a month that undersea cables have experienced outages.

Millions of South Africans were battling with internet issues on Thursday when multiple outages on undersea cables caused serious downtime. 

The affected cables included the West Africa Cable System, Africa Coast to Europe, MainOne and SAT-3/WASC.

WIOCC group business development head Darren Bedford told MyBroadband that capacity on the Equiano cable system had not been affected. WIOCC also has capacity on the Eastern Africa Submarine System. Due to this redundant capacity, Bedford said the outage was not expected to affect its customers.

South Africans were left struggling to access internet services, email and streaming services such as Microsoft Teams. 

Website Downdetector.co.za reported a spike in consumers reporting connectivity problems across sites including Mweb, Openserve, Octotel and even banks such as Absa and FNB.

Microsoft reported that it was investigating the outage, which had left users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa unable to access one or more Microsoft 365 services.

Vodacom spokesperson Byron Kennedy confirmed that multiple undersea cable failures between South Africa and Europe were affecting the country’s network providers, including Vodacom, with customers experiencing intermittent connectivity issues. 

It’s the second time in the past month that undersea cables have experienced outages.

In February, Seacom reported a service outage on its cable system in the Red Sea. At the time, the company could not pin down the cause of the cable break but did note that other cables in the area were also affected.

In the first week of March, E-marine, Seacom’s repair partner, initiated the permitting process for repairs with the relevant authorities. Obtaining these permits was expected to take up to eight weeks due to regulatory procedures. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • jason du toit says:

    > In the first week of March, E-marine, Seacom’s repair partner, initiated the permitting process for repairs with the relevant authorities. Obtaining these permits was expected to take up to eight weeks due to regulatory procedures.

    bureaucracy knows no borders, and thrives everywhere.

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