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WACS & SAT-3 break sees Liquid Dataport migrate traffic to Equiano

  • Google’s Equiano cable is proving to be a valuable backup following two submarine cable breaks at the weekend.
  • Liquid Dataport says it is now leveraging Equiano and migrated customer traffic to the cable.
  • The Léon Thévenin is scheduled to conduct repairs, but it is currently docked on the East coast of Africa in Kenya.

Since Sunday South Africans and other nations that make use of submarine cables on the West Coast of Africa have been struggling with internet connectivity. This after a boulder fell and damaged the West Africa Cable System (WACS) and the South Atlantic 3 (SAT-3) cables.

According to a report from MyBroadband, the breakages occurred on Sunday somewhere in the Congo Canyon between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon. While the repair vessel the Léon Thévenin has reportedly been earmarked for repairs, the ship is currently docked in Mombasa, Kenya so repairs will likely take a while.

Thankfully, WACS and SAT-3 aren’t the only options available to Africans hoping to access the world wide web.

One alternative is the Equiano cable which Liquid Dataport says it has fallen back on.

“On Sunday, 6 August, we woke up to multiple reports of a natural rock fall in the Congo Canyon, off the coast of West Africa, causing breaks in multiple subsea cables. These cable systems are a crucial part of the network infrastructure servicing the African continent,” explains chief executive officer of Liquid Dataport, David Eurin.

“As part of our disaster recovery process and to offer high redundancy to our customers, we have migrated our customers’ West Coast traffic to our new Equiano subsea cable. Whilst this additional capacity has brought in a much-needed increase in bandwidth in Western and Southern Africa, the redundancy is also the reason why we are able to minimise the impact on our customers,” the CEO added.

The Equiano submarine cable is part of a project launched by Google Cloud in 2019. The cable connects Africa with Europe and it landed in South Africa in 2022. Last year Liquid Intelligent Technologies acquired a fibre pair on the cable giving it up to 12 Terabits of capacity, this capacity is surely coming in handy now with two cables down for the count.

Earlier this year SEACOM went live on the cable as well.

The redundancy Equiano and other submarine cables offer is likely why South Africans are experiencing slow internet rather than no internet. With that having been said, some websites and services are painfully slow – likely given the additional traffic on the cable – at the moment and we suspect this will only be resolved once both WACS and SAT-3 are repaired.

Another option to keep South Africa connected to the world is the 2Africa submarine cable. This cable runs along the East and West coast of Africa but per the official website “multiple landings” are still in progress locally.

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