During the early hours of Saturday 28 March 2020, the West Africa Cable System (WACS) submarine fibre optic cable that connects South African research to Europe suffered a sub-sea break. Fortunately, our network has sufficient redundant capacity that this break should not affect the majority of universities and research councils. However, its impact is being felt by other Internet service providers, and may indirectly affect researchers and academics who are working from home due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
The break, which has now been identified as being between the United Kingdom and Portugal, will take several days to repair. This is because a cable repair ship needs to be loaded, sail to the break site, and lift the cable from the ocean floor before the break can be repaired. Current estimates are that the break will be repaired on the 4th of April 2020.
Ongoing information about this fault, and operational problems on the SANReN network and associated services in general, is made available by our operating partner, TENET. They maintain both a dedicated twitter feed and a more general mailing list for these purposes. Users of the SANReN network are encouraged to follow @RENalerts on Twitter for further updates.