2011/10/08 - Unscheduled Internet Outage
About 25 minutes ago, all South African higher educational institutions lost access to the international Internet as a result of a fault on the SEACOM submarine fibre optic cable.

You will likely experience this outage as an ERR_DNS_FAIL or ERR_CONNECT_FAIL error when trying to access websites hosted outside South Africa (even those ending in .za). When accessing secure (https://) web sites, your browser may report that the connection has timed out or the site is unreachable.

Initial reports suggest that the fault appears to be a break on the SEACOM cable. TENET have already given notice to their alternate suppliers, and we're currently in a two-hour waiting period for restoration capacity on another cable. It is expected that once this capacity becomes available, connectivity will be restored albeit at slightly lower capacities. SEACOM continue to investigate and we await feedback from them.

It has been rumoured in some quarters that this outage might be a deliberate act of sabbotage, and may be related to the scheduled Internet streaming of Archbishop Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday address from the University of the Western Cape. The Dalai Lama was due to join Desmond Tutu via videoconferencing over the Internet. The timing is coincidental, but as yet there is no evidence that this is the case.
SEACOM have confirmed that the problem is on the TE-North section of the link. This is the fibre crossing Egypt alongside the Suez canal and then crossing the Mediterranean Sea to France. It is maintained by Telecom Egypt.
It would appear that the restoration bandwidth on the SAT-3 cable system has just kicked in.
The fault has, as stated, been confirmed to be on the TE-NORTH segment of the cable between Egypt and France, and based on what SEACOM has just sent us, this is confirmed as a problem on the undersea portion of the cable that will require physical work.

The expected time of repair is 5 to 10 days, as the boats require permits to sale which will take up to 5 days, and then there is an approximate week time frame after the granting of permits to actually sail, get to the problem point and repair.