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Liquid Dataport reroutes traffic from snapped subsea cables

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 10 Aug 2023
David Eurin, CEO of Liquid Dataport.
David Eurin, CEO of Liquid Dataport.

Liquid Dataport, a business of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, has diverted internet traffic onto its new West Coast cable − the Equiano – as a result of the two subsea cables that broke this weekend.

As part of its disaster recovery process to offer high redundancy, the international wholesale connectivity company responsible for commercialising Liquid’s fibre network says it has migrated its customers’ West Coast traffic to the Equiano subsea cable.

This, after the West Africa Cable System (WACS) and South Atlantic Telecommunications Cable number three (SAT-3) snapped simultaneously on Sunday, impacting local and African fibre operators.

Liquid Dataport has investments in 11 undersea cables, including WACS,SAT-3,Equiano, 2Africa,PEACE and ACE.

Last year, the company acquired a pair of fibre cables on the West Coast submarine cable, Equiano, which it says is capable of delivering up to 12TB of new internet capacity.

Liquid Dataport believes its investment in Equiano is paying off, in light of the breaks in WACS and SAT-3, by ensuring its Southern African customers do not experience a change in their network performance.

David Eurin, CEO of Liquid Dataport, explains: “Whilst this additional capacity has brought in a much-needed increase in bandwidth in Western and Southern Africa, the redundancy is also the reason we are able to minimise the impact on our customers.”

Liquid Dataport says it is focused on supporting its customers to gain access to international connectivity from and into Africa by leveraging its investment in 11 submarine cables and access to 25 landing stations around the continent.

The WACS submarine cable is an ultra-high-capacity fibre-optic submarine cable system that links SA and other countries to Europe, spanning the West Coast of Africa and termination in the UK.

The four fibre pair system with a total length of approximately 16 000km is complemented with 15 terminal stations, forming a consortium of 18 international telecoms carriers.

The Equiano cable is operational.
The Equiano cable is operational.

The SAT-3 is a 13 000km submarine cable connecting SA and West Africa to Europe. It has a total capacity of 120Gbps and began service in 2001.

Both the SAT-3 and WACS interconnect with the SAFE cable system at the Melkbosstrand cable landing station in SA, says Liquid Dataport.

While work is under way to repair these cable systems, it will likely be some time before the complete restoration of services, notes the company.

Eurin points out that a strong turbidity current in the Congo River undersea canyon is a possible cause for the breakage of the two cables.

The Equiano cable was not impacted by the disaster, he adds.

“On Sunday, 6 August, we woke up to multiple reports of a natural rock fall in the Congo Canyon, off the coast of West Africa, causing breaks in multiple subsea cables. These cable systems are a crucial part of the network infrastructure servicing the African continent.

“Liquid Dataport’s decision to invest in multiple subsea cables was driven by the need to ensure high availability for its customers, particularly during such incidents,” notes Eurin.

This week, South African fibre infrastructure providers said they are taking action to resolve disruptions in internet connectivity services, following the break in the two undersea cables.

On Tuesday, infrastructure provider Openserve told ITWeb the impact on its network is limited to customers on the international private leased circuit services.

In a tweet, state-owned wholesale infrastructure provider Broadband Infraco apologised to customers for the connectivity interruptions caused by the cable issues.