South Africa suffers cable break; Angola enjoys cable arrival

South Africa suffers cable break; Angola enjoys cable arrival

A rock fall on Sunday in the Congo Canyon, one of the largest submarine canyons in the world, has caused breaks in WACS and the South Atlantic 3 (SAT–3) undersea cables.

The Congo Canyon is incised into the South Atlantic continental shelf and slope of western equatorial Africa, but the effect of the WACS break in particular is likely to be felt far away in South Africa; WACS links the South of Africa and Europe, spanning the west coast of Africa and terminating in the United Kingdom.

The 16,000-kilometre four fibre pair system has 15 terminal stations and is owned by a consortium of 18 international telecom carriers. The older SAT-3 cable system has a total capacity of 120Gbps and was ready for service in 2001.

According to news site MyBroadband it may take a month or more for a cable repair ship to reach the site of a break in WACS, though Telkom’s wholesale and networks division, Openserve, has suggested the impact on its operations would be minimal.

Meanwhile there’s better cable news for Angola, where the 2Africa subsea cable landed in the capital Luanda early last week. The landing is the first major part of the West African side of the 2Africa cable, which begins at MTN’s Yzerfontein landing station in South Africa.

Meta, along with Telecom Egypt, China Mobile International, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, STC, Vodafone, and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) announced the 2Africa cable in 2020. Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) is to manufacture and deploy the 45,000-kilometre 16-fibre pair, 180Tbps cable.

2Africa will connect 33 countries with 46 landing points across Africa, Europe, and Asia when it is complete in 2024. 

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