Seacom cable fault hits SA internet

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Seacom. (Tyco Telecommunications, Seacom)
Seacom. (Tyco Telecommunications, Seacom)

Johannesburg - Undersea broadband cable provider Seacom has been hit by a fault in the Mediterranean Sea between Egypt and France, possibly impacting connectivity in Africa.

Seacom operates an undersea broadband cable that connects from South Africa to Europe and Asia along Africa’s eastern coastline.

And Seacom said in a network update on Monday that it is “experiencing a shunt fault in the mediterranean sea” at 14:00 GMT, which was about 16:00 South African time Monday.

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A shunt fault occurs when the insulation of an undersea cable is damaged and its metallic core makes contact with seawater.

“The impact of the incident is that all transmission traffic on the East Coast of Africa to and from Europe will be affected,” said the company.

Seacom further explained that customers with internet protocol (IP) services will remain “unaffected” but could experience “higher latencies”.

Higher latencies mean that internet traffic takes longer to route around a network.

Seacom further explained that its traffic would be routed via the West African Cable System (WACS) and the company’s network to its Asia gateways.

“To repair this shunt fault, a service-affecting planned activity has been scheduled from the 19th October to the 28th October 2016,” said Seacom in its update.

“A repair vessel has been mobilised and will reach the fault location by the 19th October.  Due to the nature of the activity, which largely depends on weather and other sea conditions, the planned work window may vary,” said the company.

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