The West Africa Cable System (WACS), a submarine fiber-optic line that carries data between the UK and the west coast of Africa, tore about 24 miles from Britain in roughly the same spot that the cable broke in January due to heavy-rains over the Congo river resulting in a short circuit. South Africans are now confronting slow and unreliable Internet. The timing could not be worse as the country enters a lockdown period of 21 days to curb the spread of COVID-19.

South African national research and education network (SANREN) partner, TENET says that “with the WACS outages on the east coast, SANREN users working from home during the lockdown may experience issues if their home providers do not have sufficient capacity via alternate sub-sea cable systems”.

This is something that network provider, Afrihost, has already acknowledged – “the [breakage] is causing increased latency and slow speeds when accessing international servers and data. Engineers are attending to the problem and hope to have it resolved soon”.

The Ile D’Aix cable vessel is handling the repair of the breakage.