Telkom’s infrastructure provisioning division, Openserve, on Tuesday confirmed that the cable consortia for both of the undersea fibre cables that broke last week have tasked their respective restoration processes to a single chief of mission aboard the Leon Thevinin.
The Leon Thevinin is a fit-for-purpose undersea cable deployment and maintenance vessel that is staffed with highly skilled technical personnel capable of the most efficient restoration of both cable systems.
The affected cables, the South Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable (SAT3/WASC) and the West African Cable System (WACS), are deployed in the Atlantic Ocean and connect South Africa and many other African countries to Europe.
The broken cables are also impacting on international voice calling and mobile roaming.
The vessel has been moved to the docking area where loading of supplies for the repair mission got under way yesterday afternoon.
Openserve on Tuesday said the chief of mission aboard the vessel had confirmed that this process was “running optimally . . . with submarine-rated optic fibre cable, repeaters, all test gear and jointing kits being loaded”.
Once the loading is completed, the vessel will depart to the break location to undertake the repairs.
All loading is expected to be completed by the evening of January 22.
Actual restoration timelines, meanwhile, can only be provided once the ship arrives at the break site and the crew has had time to assess the extent of the damage, Openserve said.
The expectation is that the SAT3/WASC cable will be worked on first as it was the first of the consortiums to hand over the repair operation to the ship’s chief of mission and crew.
Since notice of the dual cable break on January 16, Openserve’s Global Capacity team had been exploring options available from other undersea cable consortiums in order to ascertain the availability of spare capacity that could be purchased.
Commercial deals with several parties have been concluded and Openserve is now in the process of activating additional international connectivity capacity. This is in addition to the activation of spare capacity on Openserve’s own equity on the Indian Ocean based undersea cables.
These measures are said to minimise some of the impact on its network, and that of its clients, while repairs to the WACS and SAT3/WASC cable systems continue.
The undersea cable systems are consortium-run and the maintenance and operations subcommittees of these consortiums are responsible for the repairs that are required for restoration of full service.