Don’t bother restarting your modem. It isn’t your internet, the whole of SA is dealing with it. South African internet speeds have suddenly dipped following a WACS (West African Cable System) and SAT-3 (South Atlantic 3) cable breakage.
The damage was first reported on Sunday evening when users started complaining about slow and sluggish internet speeds. Network status reports confirmed that on Sunday morning, the SAT-3 cable lost connectivity and the WACS followed soon after.
Further investigation on the breakage confirmed that the damage was caused by a rock fall in the Congo Canyon – a massive submarine canyon found off the coast of Congo. It is the largest undersea canyon in the world.
As a result of the breakage, a cable repair ship known as the Léon Thévenin was sent out to begin repairs. According to Marine Vessel Traffic, the ship is currently docked at Mombasa, Kenya and is currently listed as “restricted manoeuvrability”.
This is not a good sign because it means the ship hasn’t moved since it arrived at 17:13 yesterday afternoon. It originally left Cape Town on 3 August and is now en route to the breakage spot just off the coast of Congo. I can only assume it has to turn around and return to Cape Town to go up the West Coast of Africa towards Congo.
At the moment there’s no ETA for the fix. The repair vessel is way off from its destination and it will likely take a few weeks to get to where it needs to be. We can only hope that in the time being, internet traffic is rerouted to help the situation.
I have noticed some slow internet issues myself. iCloud uploads were incredibly slow last night. Diablo 4 was also very laggy (which is all the time so maybe not related to this breakage). Not to mention Steam downloads were also sluggish.
You can track the vessel’s trip on the Marine Vessel Traffic site here.
This breakage is very similar to the one back in 2020. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa suffered a three-week outage which affected the majority of the country’s internet speeds.