[AfrICANN-discuss] Africa: New Fibre-Optic Cable Fails,
alfamamadou at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 7 15:56:47 SAST 2010
Africa: New Fibre-Optic Cable Fails, Disrupting Internet
7 July 2010
Johannesburg — A FAULT in the Seacom undersea cable which runs along Africa's east coast has interrupted internet access for millions, including local users.
Seacom said yesterday that its undersea cable system had collapsed, disrupting services from Kenya to India and Europe.
"This is the one thing we have been dreading," said Suveer Ramdhani, Seacom's spokesman.
The undersea cable has been in operation for a year and provides broadband internet access. Internet Solutions and MWeb subscribers appear to be worst hit.
Mr Ramdhani said initial investigations had revealed that there was a fault on the component that amplified the signal.
"We had to get a ship to get it out and it is 4700m deep. We will repair it and also determine the cause of the fault," he said.
He warned that the repairs could take up to a week.
"The actual duration is unpredictable due to external factors such as transit time of the ship, weather conditions and time to locate the cable," he said.
The outage affects all internet service providers which use Seacom for international bandwidth.
But users can still gain access to internet sites located in SA and in the rest of Africa.
Internet traffic from Africa to sites in Europe and India was disrupted. Mr Ramdhani said Seacom was trying to find alternatives for its clients while the repairs were done.
Internet traffic would be routed on to other cables such as the East African Marine System and Telkom 's SAT3/SAFE cable system, he said. Sean Nourse, an executive in charge of connectivity services at Internet Solutions, said that company's international clients on consumer DSL and Velocity packages were affected, but business DSL clients were not experiencing any problems because the company used Telkom's SAT3 cable as a backup.
MWeb uses Seacom as its primary provider of international bandwidth, with a limited amount of backup on Telkom's SAT3/SAFE cable.
MWeb was able to secure alternative capacity on Telkom's South African Internet Exchange network on Monday evening. But that lasted only until yesterday afternoon because the exchange withdrew the capacity due to concerns over its bandwidth commitments to Fifa for the World Cup, said Derek Hershaw, CEO of MWeb ISP.
"MWeb is in urgent and ongoing discussions with a number of providers to obtain alternative bandwidth until the Seacom capacity has been fully restored," he said.
He said MWeb's local internet traffic was unaffected.
Source : business day
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