Press Release:

Undersea Cable Breaks Highlight Resilient Networks, says ISPA

Published on: 2024-03-20

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News that some local internet users have experienced slow speeds since an estimated four undersea telecoms cables connecting Africa to the world were severed is worthy of concern, however, the impact has been muted due to years of sustained investment in the South African web.

The cables provide international connectivity between South Africa and Europe, via the East and West Coast of Africa. Although internet speeds decreased yesterday, the recent breaks proved the local web is a robust and stable system that is today less reliant on international infrastructure. National Internet Exchanges (INXes) which are run by INX-ZA, assisted internet users to route traffic more effectively and help mask the effects of the outage.

Multiple cable breaks years ago would have meant no international connectivity at all and extremely limited local content and services. Today, redundancy created by as many as nine undersea cable systems serving Africa and a mature, yet dynamic South African peering ecosystem means that breaks in several different cable systems has had a limited and manageable impact on local users.

The local peering and exchange of internet traffic within South Africa’s borders, via the INXes, did what it is designed to do and that is to ensure better local internet traffic delivery. The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has advised that consumers and businesses should choose vendors and products which host their content locally and promote peering at INXes. This architecture not only promotes growth for the local economy and internet ecosystem, but drastically improves end-user performance and outage resilience as observed during the last few days.

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Further Information

For further information, please contact the ISPA secretariat on the Contact ISPA page.