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Internet cable to be repaired

Swakopmunders will be denied access to the beach area where contractors start working this weekend on the recovery and repairs of the West African undersea cable that links several southern African countries to West Africa and Europe.

Swakopmunders will be denied access to the beach area where contractors start working this weekend on the recovery and repairs of the West African undersea cable that links several southern African countries to West Africa and Europe.

The 14,03 kilometre long, US$650 million West African submarine communications cable system will undergo repairs this weekend following a fault that was detected in May.
The West Africa Cable System (WACS) will receive repair work which will affect all traffic transiting via the Swakopmund WACS Cable Station. The fault was detected on 29 May this year. Traffic was returned to normal with an interim solution until the fault is localised and the cable system repaired.
Telecom Namibia together with WACS Consortium are preparing for the cable repair activity both on land and at sea, starting on Friday. The repair work is expected to be completed by 23 August  depending on weather conditions and other factors such as the preliminary on-site inspection and deployment of the repair vessel. The cable repair procedure normally consists of finding the cable failure point, then getting that section of the cable onto the ship where the faulty segment is severed and removed. A new section is then jointed to the two protruding ends, very similar to the repair of an electric cable on land. Finally the cable is tested before it is submerged again and buried in the upper layer of the seabed.

The shallow water cable will require large industrial equipment to be deployed on the Swakopmund beach, while the large cable repair vessel will again be operated about 1.5km to shore. The beach area will be closed for the duration of the repair activities. The WACS transports the majority of Internet traffic for Namibia, Botswana and Zambia and is considered of national importance. The repair work, Telecom Namibia will reroute Internet traffic through other undersea cable systems to mitigate the impact on customers.

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