Simultaneous breaks in two critical undersea cables that connect South Africa to the Internet were likely caused by a massive mudslide that originated at the mouth of the Congo River, new research has found.
South Africans found their Internet speeds to overseas services dramatically slowed down at the start of last year when breaks occurred in two undersea cables off the western coast of Africa SAT-3/WASC and WACS.
These simultaneous cable breaks left many Internet service providers scrambling to activate backup bandwidth to ensure customers remain connected during the disruption.
On 16 January 2020, the South Atlantic 3/West Africa (SAT-3/WASC) cable and the West Africa Cable System (WACS) were hit by cable breaks. SAT-3, which links Africa to Portugal and Spain was hit by a breakdown in Gabon, while WACS, which connects South Africa to the United Kingdom, saw an outage off the coast of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Researchers noted that the mudslide happened ten days after the Congo River was hit by the largest flood since the 1960s.
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