Residents of the Garden Route have been left in the information darkness since late afternoon on the 9th of August, 2023. The internet fast was caused by a double underwater cable break that affected some of SA’s biggest fibre providers.
The digital hush that fell over the vibrant communities of the Garden Route, has been felt hard by the community of remote workers who, over the last 4 years, semigrated to this area.
The culprit behind this unexpected plunge into the information abyss? A double-whammy underwater cable break. According to ITWeb, the West Africa Cable System (WACS) and the vital SAT-3 undersea cables, lifelines connecting South Africa and its African neighbours to Europe, both gave way simultaneously.
The main areas affected include Strand, Grabouw, Klein Brak, Knysna, George, Sedgefield, and Plettenberg Bay.
Imagine the frustration of individuals and the dismay of businesses of being cut off from the online world. Many remote workers and online businesses rely heavily on the recent fibre rollout to this area.
Openserve, one of the bigger players, came forward with a reassuring yet bittersweet statement. They confirmed the cable breaks and assured us they were working alongside others to mend the ruptured connections. But the minutes turned into hours, and no official timeline for restoration emerged from the consortium, leaving us in a state of suspended hope.
Octotel also offered the following late-night updates yesterday.
“OCTOTEL NETWORK NOTICE UPDATE: EDEN DISTRICT NODES
Repair work is presently in progress; however, we are unable to provide an estimated time for its completion at this stage.
We apologize for any inconvenience this situation may have caused and sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding.”
Broadband Infraco, the state's digital caretaker, apologized for the disruption, revealing that the rupture had occurred thousands of kilometres away, in the depths near the Democratic Republic of Congo Canyon.
It's astonishing how something so distant can have such a profound impact on our everyday lives.
As we grapple with these sudden moments of isolation, it becomes clear that our digital existence is a delicate dance on a fragile stage. These undersea cables, unseen and often unappreciated, cradle the data that powers our lives. They traverse vast distances beneath the ocean, and when they falter, our interconnected world stumbles.
Yet, amidst this information darkness, a glimmer of resilience emerges. Openserve's strategic investments in alternative routes allowed them to reroute traffic, offering a lifeline to their customers, a temporary bridge back to the digital realm.
And even as the operators of the undersea cables remained silent, the spirit of collaboration among South African fibre providers shines brightly, as they work tirelessly to restore the threads that bind us.
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