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South Africa has been experiencing slow internet in recent weeks. Upon researching to find out what the cause of the slow internet could be, we came across three articles from three different sources. Articles published by The South African, Business Tech, and MyBroadband on the 21st of January, all pointed to the same direction; broken SAT3 / WASC and WACS cables. These are undersea international links which service the country. It has been predicted that South Africans can expect continued slow Internet speeds when connecting to international websites in the weeks ahead.
According to the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET), the ship which is tasked with repairing the breaks had not been able to leave Cape Town harbour by Tuesday 21st January. “Winds persist in Cape Town which is delaying the departure of other vessels in addition to the cable repair vessel,” said TENET on Sunday evening. The international cable downtime has affected most large Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in South Africa, including Webafrica, Afrihost, Axxess, and Mind The Speed. Many of these ISPs have posted network status updates citing the cable outages as the cause of their slow international connections.
We thank God that the repair ship is now on the way to repair the broken cables, and we are promised that soon things will be back to normal. Weather conditions permitting, it is anticipated the vessel will reach its first repair site on the evening of 28 January.
The Leon Thevenin is the ship which is tasked with repairing the breaks. “Openserve has been advised that both cable consortia have tasked their respective restoration processes to a single chief of mission aboard the Leon Thevenin,” said Openserve. “Strong and gale force winds in the City of Cape Town last week and over the weekend have delayed the operations of the cable ship,” said Openserve.
Tech analyst Arthur Goldstuck said on the 702 Money Show on Monday evening that it’s going to take at least two weeks before the matter would be resolved:
“Telkom, who seem to be the main spokesperson for this, has said they can’t give an actual estimated time, but it could take six days to reach the location once the ship sets sail and then another week to repair it. So we are looking at least two weeks, minimum, before it’s likely to be repaired.”
This is not a new phenomenon. In 2017, SEACOM experienced an outage on its cable system located near Djibouti in the Red Sea. The company’s subsea cable was damaged, and was repaired at the beginning of May 2017 by a cable-repair ship.
To augment for the damage, Afrihost said it has purchased additional international bandwidth on other undersea cables to restore “Internet services to as close to normal as possible”. Several of SA’s main internet providers purchased additional international bandwidth on Monday, but many others are still plagued by connectivity issues.  OpenServe confirmed on Tuesday 21 January that they are diverting traffic in a bid to minimise the impact, and have made resources available to assist where possible.
Though we are dependent on the technology, we still face challenges such as breakdowns in the infrastructure that is supposed to bring the technology to us. This highlights the importance of skills relevant for servicing the infrastructure of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. New and scarce skills for new jobs in the digital age.

Article by SANGONeT editor.

Most of the NGOs have committed their lives to solving the community’s problem far away from the donor and supporter groups and despite that there is a huge trust deficit to bridge. On top of it, a faceless existence aggravates the situation. Websites have become an imperative tool for communication. In the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), it is crucial that NGOs also are brought into play with in the digital space.
Although it takes much more than just a great website in order to successfully market one’s organization, a website, nonetheless plays a crucial role in the outreach and discovery today.

There are, at least seven reasons why Non-Profit Organizations should have professional websites. And these are;

  • Direct access to stories from the ground and can thus directly communicate such concerns to supporters and ambassadors who are otherwise not able to penetrate such areas.
  • Forms a direct, secure and even anonymous platform of privy individuals to contact an organization.
  • Instant communication, instant networking and instant credibility upon building a successful community have one thing in common: instant effect.
  • Potential thousands of people seeing it and thus gives one the adequate control and management to be able influence people’s decisions and educate them.
  • A website runs 24/7 without necessary manual supervision thus always maintaining a presence.
  • Having a website not only lends the much needed legitimacy to the organization but an attractive website with systematized data draws in investment. 
  • The web comes together as a unique space for the voices of opinions, regardless (in most cases) of their effect.

The Training Programme

With the above mentioned benefits of having a website as an organization, it is no secret that getting these services from commercial companies costs affluent prices. SANGONeT provides affordable tranining from its offices in Braamfontein to NGOs from all over South Africa. Anyone with basic computer literacy may be delegated by an NGO they work in or manage to attend these training workshops. This training is facilitated by a Web Design Expert based in SANGONeT.
The content of the training enables NGOs to build, design and manage their own websites. The facilitation presents theory and practical step-by-step methods of learning.  All participants are issued manuals to use as referrals once they reach their work place.
Reviews from people who have been attending the trainings:

“The training has reached my expectations and even exceeded my expectation.” 
“I learned things that I did not know before, even things that I knew were explained in depth” 
“I was able to understand all that is needed to create an account and website.  And I will be able to create the same for others”
Participants suggested that the program be extended to other provinces for NGOs to have access to this valuable skill.  Some suggested that an accredited, advanced training be established with longer duration and more practicals

Article by SANGONeT editor.

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Read the e-newsletter here: Issue 689: Slow Internet In SA Caused By Broken SAT3 / WASC Cables

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