Sub-Saharan Africa reported frustrating difficulties with Internet and data access that began Thursday, following accidental cuts of the undersea West Africa Cable System (WACS) that runs along the coast.
The 16,000-kilometer system runs from South Africa to the UK, connecting much of western and central Africa to Europe and each other. A second cable, the SAT3, also was damaged, and that’s left dozens of service providers scrambling to respond to complaints with thousands of Africans dealing with absent or slow service.
Major outages were reported across all South African providers as well as in Democratic Republic of Congo. The cable system feeds terminals on the west coast that connect to interior locations and their service providers.
“We have had a notification that there is a further break in the UK on the WACS cable,” said South Africa’s TENET on Friday. “We hope to receive clarity on the end-to-end problem in the next few hours as previous reports indicated issues in the Congo area. This outage appears to have multiple problems.”
The TENET/NREN research-tech group said ships were dispatched to the cable break near Congo, with repairs there expected over the weekend. Some of its partners were rerouted on the eastern SEACOM and EASSy cables.
MTN explained to users in Ghana, Namibia and Nigeria that their service issues were because of the cable damage. “This unfortunate situation is affecting all operators and customers in the region,” the company said. “Our engineers are working to resolve the challenge.”