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Fin24 | Buffer no more: Repair ship in Cape Town to fix SA’s fibre

Fin24 | Buffer no more: Repair ship in Cape Town to fix SA’s fibre


Fibre-optic cables that were damaged by a rockfall in an undersea canyon, resulting in slow internet connections in some parts of Africa, should be repaired next month by a specialised vessel, according to telecommunication companies.

The West Africa Cable System that runs about 16 000km along the sea floor from Europe to southern Africa was damaged with other lines earlier this month. 

The 40-year-old cable-layer vessel Leon Thevenin, named after a French telegraph engineer, was moored in Cape Town this week, according to tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s capable of working in extreme conditions and in shallow or deep water, according to owner Orange Marine, a submarine telecommunications company. 

All South African networks are currently experiencing disruptions due to the damaged lines, said Anne-Caroline Tanguy, a spokeswoman at Cloudflare Inc., a company that provides load balancing and analysis. The repairs are expected to be finished in September.

The Leon Thevenin headed to Cape Town from another break repair in order to load equipment that’s needed, said Mooketsi Mocumi, a spokesman for Telkom SA SOC. He said the time line for finishing repairs depends on variables including weather conditions.

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