Days to fix undersea cable

2010-07-07 00:00

THE undersea Seacom data cable has experienced problems and South African Internet service providers that depend on it for international access could be affected for several days.

According to Seacom’s website, the cable, which lies along the east coast of Africa, went down between Mumbai and the Kenyan coastal town of Mombasa.

The website reported on Monday evening it could take days to fix the problem. Seacom had not responded to Sake24’s enquiries by yesterday, but published details on its own website.

An article on Creamer Media’s Engineering News website said the cable failed on Monday evening and that although the fault has been identified, fixing it could take up to eight days because a repair ship has to get to the area, which is north of Mombasa.

External factors such as transit time of the ship, weather conditions and time taken to locate the cable, make it difficult to estimate the duration of the repair, Seacom explained.

Seacom, in co-operation with individual clients, said it is actively seeking alternatives to restore ser­vice while repairs are undertaken.

Investigations showed that a repeater failed on segment nine of the Seacom cable, which is offshore to the north of Mombasa. Seacom initiated emergency repair procedures to replace the repeater.

“Once mobilised, the repair ship is deployed to the location of the fault to pick up the cable. The cable is then brought on board to undergo the repair — the faulty element is replaced with a new repeater — before being put back in the water,” Engineering News quoted Seacom as saying.

The failure affects traffic towards both India and Europe. However, traffic within Africa is not affected, explained Seacom.

In an e-mail to clients at lunchtime yesterday, MWeb said it had secured space on the SAIX network to maintain international connections, but by mid-afternoon this had been withdrawn as well, “due to constraints on [the SAIX] network”, leaving South African users cut off from the world.

MWeb said in an e-mail to subscribers: “Most customers will not have access to international bandwidth at this point in time. Access to local websites, Internet banking and e-mail will continue as per normal. We are urgently trying to secure alternative international capacity and we will keep you updated of any developments in this regard.”

Service provider Afrihost noted on its website that it, too, is experiencing an international connectivity problem and indicated that it was a Seacom fault, but said the alternative Sat-3 data cable is available for its clients.

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