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HomeTech NewsMicrosoft expects full Africa cable break mitigation soon

Microsoft expects full Africa cable break mitigation soon

Microsoft services, which were severely impacted by interruptions to four subsea cable systems in West Africa on Thursday, should be back to 100% working order by 8pm SAST on Friday, the company said, as it works to mitigate the incident.

TechCentral reported on Thursday that four subsea cable break, suspected to be off the coast of Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast in West Africa, had caused severe internet disruptions across the region, including South Africa.

Microsoft services were hard hit by the cable problems – which are affecting the Wacs, Ace, MainOne and Sat-3 systems – causing many companies to lose access to e-mail systems and other cloud-based services such as the Teams video-conferencing tool for several hours starting at 12.30pm SAST on Thursday. Many company websites that rely on cloud platforms were also inaccessible for hours on Thursday.

In a status update posted by Microsoft on Friday morning, the software giant said: “The overall network health for the region has been steadily improving. Many of the Azure services that were affected earlier by this issue have now returned to their normal levels. We are still validating for any remaining services. However, the users for these would already notice considerable improvements.”

The company said its teams are working actively to increase capacity in the region to minimise the impact on businesses on Friday.

“Many of the Azure services that were affected by this issue earlier have now returned to normal functionality. We are validating for any remaining impacted services. However, customers should notice considerable improvements,” Microsoft said in an update at 4.07pm SAST. “We are currently facing technical issues with capacity activation, and these need to be resolved before we can safely pull this into the network. ETA for completion of mitigation is 18:00 UTC (8pm SAST) on 15 March.”

Equiano, Sacs up

According to Seacom, which operates a cable system along Africa’s east coast and which buys capacity on cable systems on the western side of the continent, Google’s Equiano cable, which came into commercial service last year, has been unaffected by the outages. This is good news as it means the system can be used to reroute traffic to Europe that had been carried on the affected cables.

The recently built Sacs cable between Angola and Brazil, which offers onward routes to the US, is another option for telecommunications and internet service providers looking for alternative global paths for their traffic while the outage in West Africa is being dealt with – a process that could take weeks, depending on the cause.

“While the cause of the reported cable breaks off the Ivory Coast of West Africa has not yet been confirmed, Angola Cables [which owns Sacs] is ensuring that the impact on Angola and other African countries is being minimised by redirecting international data and traffic to the Sacs cable, which connects Angola directly to Brazil and from there to the US and Europe,” a spokesman for Angola Cables said in a statement.

“Angola Cables has network backup and restoration solutions available through cables that have not been affected by the faults off the Ivory Coast.”