Why is the internet in SA so slow lately?

Written by on 28th Jan 2020

The Best Drive spoke to a specialist about the growing irritation that is the slow internet connection in South Africa.

To get some answers, #TheBestDrive duo, DJ Sabby and Tshepi, spoke to Joel Makhara from Cloud Berry on their tech feature, #BestApps.

First, a tech lesson:

We are often misinformed about how the world connects to the internet. Your first idea would be via satellite, right?

There are cellphone towers, drones, hot air balloons and satellites connecting tech companies such as search engines and social media networks to the world, but they and even the rest of the world rely on fibre optic cables laid under sea.

Wait… How is the “Cloud” in the ocean?

There are about 300 fibre optic cables connecting the world via the internet. A simple solution discovered in the 1800s. Multiple fibre optic cables no thicker than a can of cold drink are what make our internet run.

The issue that Joel mentioned on #TheBestDrive is that the West African Cable System(WACS) connecting RSA to Spain and the U.K. through the ether has had 2 breakage points causing an outage. This affects a number of cellphone network providers, but not all.

To make matters worse, Joel mentions that those repairs have not taken place as the ship with the necessary tools for the job is docked in Cape Town’s harbour, unable to depart due to unfavourable weather conditions.

Sadly, what this means is, if you are experiencing network issues, there is not much if anything at all that your service provider can do about it, because the problem stretches further than their operational capacity.

Joel responded to Dj Sabby’s question regarding alternatives with the fact that changing networks could help allude customers feel hopeful but they all still rely on the same system, so really they’d be waiting time and money.

For the full conversation, stream here:


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