Africa Undersea Cables Outage Update

As this publication reported yesterday, several West, Central, and South African countries have severely degraded internet services after a disruption of several undersea cables off the coast of the Ivory Coast.

NetBlocks identified the cable failures to damage on the WACS, MainOne, SAT3 and ACE subsea fiber networks. The Telecommunications Regulatory Agency concurred with this assessment in a separate announcement.

As of 1000 EST this morning, those disruptions continue, albeit with some agencies able to work temporary solutions to alleviate the loss of internet for millions of Africans. Microsoft was able to successfully reroute traffic and optimize services to manage their available capacity. Their announcement reads below:

Microsoft reported that their customers would have restored services as of 2200 EST last night.

Vodacom also announced that it has restored regular services to its customers after implementing “alternative solutions”. Their announcement reads below:

Cloudflare announced this morning that a repair vessel will be dispatched in the next few days to attempt to repair the four cables. However, they warned that the repair could take weeks or months.

This incident is not too different from the August 2023 underseas rockfall on the WACS and SAT-3 subsea cables in the Congo Canyon. That disruption left South African internet users with degraded services for weeks until a repair vessel was able to service the cut cables. There has still been no announcement on what exactly caused this disruption, but the historical norm is seabed shifting, usually in the form of canyon rockfalls or tectonic activity.