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SA Insights

Equiano saves SA from 
undersea cable breaks

A rockfall off the coast of Congo broke the WACS and SAT-3 cables, but the day was saved by the Google cable that arrived in March.

Following a multiple undersea cable break this week, South Africans experienced some Internet glitches and slow access to international sites, but nothing like the scale of outages caused by past cable breaks.

“On Sunday, 6 August, we woke up to multiple reports of a natural rock fall in the Congo Canyon, off the coast of West Africa, causing breaks in multiple subsea cables,” said David Eurin, CEO of Liquid Dataport. “These cable systems are a crucial part of the network infrastructure servicing the African continent.”

The result was that Liquid Dataport, a business of pan-African technology group Liquid Intelligent Technologies, saw a surge of Internet traffic on its leased capacity on the new Equiano West coast cable. The cable was built by Google to connect Sesimbra in Portugal to Cape Town in South Africa, with branching units to Lagos (Nigeria), Lomé (Togo), Swakopmund (Namibia), and Rupert’s bay (St Helena). The cable entered operation in March 2023, becoming the third private international cable owned by Google and the 14th subsea cable invested in by Google.

Eurin said Liquid’s well-timed investment in Equiano ensured that its Southern Africa customers did not experience a change in their network performance, despite the breaks in the WACS and SAT–3 undersea cable systems off the coast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Liquid Dataport’s decision to invest in multiple subsea cables was driven to ensure high availability for its customers, particularly in such situations. While work is underway to repair these cable systems, it will likely be some time before the complete restoration of services, he said.

“As part of our disaster recovery process and to offer high redundancy to our customers, we have migrated our customers’ West Coast traffic to our new Equiano subsea cable. Whilst this additional capacity has brought in a much-needed increase in bandwidth in Western and Southern Africa, the redundancy is also the reason why we are able to minimise the impact on our customers.”

Subsea cables are integral to high-speed data exchanges between continents, making them vital to our connectivity offering to our customers. Liquid Dataport says its investment in these subsea cables helps provide seamless connectivity for its clients across Africa, complementing its existing national and metro fibre networks and offering increased resilience thanks to its connection to other subsea and satellite networks.

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