If you are in the position of having switched to Afrihost thanks to their particularly cheap ADSL prices or any of the other smaller ISPs that offer some quite attractive rates, you’ll no doubt be quite frustrated over these last couple of days I’m sure.
International connectivity has pretty much been non-existent or moving at a completely unusable crawl since Monday, all thanks to a disruption in the all important Seacom undersea fiber cable that connects Africa to the rest of the world and acts as the cheap carrier line that allows all these small ISPs to offer the deals that they do.
After noticing a fault in the line, Seacom originally pencilled in the maintenance period to commence on Saturday 24th April, but unfortunately rough seas and stormy conditions prevented the repair ship from launching the submarine operation in order to bring up the affected faulty segment and run repairs on it. As it is, it would now seem that the problem is much larger than initially thought and there are currently reports from Seacom that the cable may very well be down all the way through until Friday the 30th of April!
Some of the other ISPs like MWEB purchased redundancy on the SAT3 cable that Telkom uses and that certainly helped their customers a bit, but as of the 28th that access has since been withdrawn by Telkom, meaning that if you opted to go with any other ISP outside of Telkom and the few others that make use of the SAT3 or 3G system, you’re pretty much screwed at the moment.
A good example of single point of failure then I’m afraid.
That said, Afrihost is at least offering some sort of limited, extremely shaped and throttled Internet access through a special proxy server it has since set up (http://www.afrihost.com/proxy.pac), but as you can well imagine, the amount of traffic trying to get through there is already clogging that alternative route up.
So in other words, unless your needs are entirely local, you’re pretty much dead in the water at this point in time.
Else, if you have a setup like me back home where I make use of both an Afrihost and Telkom ADSL account, you can sit back, give a wry smile and continue to work, thanks to the surprisingly reliable (for a change) Telkom alternative!
Now who would ever have thought the use of the words “Telkom” and “alternative” in a single, positive sentence? ;)