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East Africa Gets High-Speed Internet Access Via Undersea Cable

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the not-a-panacea-but-good-still dept.

The Internet 198

Abel Mebratu writes with this excerpt from the BBC: "The first undersea cable to bring high-speed internet access to East Africa has gone live. The fiber-optic cable, operated by African-owned firm Seacom, connects South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique to Europe and Asia. The firm says the cable will help to boost the prospects of the region's industry and commerce. The cable — which is 17,000km long — took two years to lay and cost more than $650m."

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198 comments

The internet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28803919)

Its for niggers now.

Re:The internet (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804423)

It's funny the niggers who didn't get enslaved get high speed internet while the niggers who were dragged on from west africa, their bretheren don't get shit. Also for the record it's not black people who are the problem it's just American black and hispanics who have come to leech of the of the American civil war that are to blame. You can't even blame them because if it wasn't for crafty jews who have made their way well out of the holocaust minorities would have been well empowered. That would have went against the jewish world order of things and Blacks and Hispanics have to be looked upon as menaces or people would look again at jews. Seriously, the one way to make Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, etc get along together is for ALL OF US to go and produce a second holocaust. If we all proactively killed the jews off the planet would be a better place. Who do you think pits black against white, hispanic against asian? Jews get rich while dumb asses go and kill each other. A new holocaust is in order and this time with the backing of the US, we can kill every single jew. Israel should be a parking lot paved by the bones of should-be holocaust victims. Schindler himself regrets saving the jews who would hardly help him in his time of need. Kill the jews please. I know a bunch of slashdotters are jews but think about it. How much better would the world be if you didn't contributed to the filth of society by existing.

Re:The internet (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804663)

Schindler himself regrets saving the jews who would hardly help him in his time of need.

[citation needed]

Re:The internet (0, Offtopic)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#28804685)

Here [revisionisthistory.org] 's one for ya.

Very good news! (-1, Troll)

woutersimons_com (1602459) | about 5 years ago | (#28803923)

Now all that is left is to get them some electricity in the villages and they can all start joining slashdot.

Re:Very good news! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28803937)

Not everything in Africa is rural....

Mod Parent Up. (2, Informative)

tpgp (48001) | about 5 years ago | (#28803997)

I am posting to undo accidentally moderating the parent redundant. Should've been insightful. Africa is not just made up of villages in need of running water & sewerage.

Re:Mod Parent Up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804035)

A less cynical person would have interpreted the GF post differently. I think he means: "good for the cities, now let's hope the rural areas catch up."

Yes, Africa is not only rural villages. But it's pretty damn full of them compared to the West.

Re:Mod Parent Up. (3, Funny)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#28804069)

A less cynical person

There's no such thing as "less cynical" on slashdot. There's only "over-cynical", "super-cynical", and "Anonymous Coward".

Re:Mod Parent Up. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804375)

That's Anonymous Cowardon to you, MISTER!

Re:Very good news! (2, Insightful)

woutersimons_com (1602459) | about 5 years ago | (#28804055)

Of course you are right. The point I was trying to imply is that the fact that internet coming to the villages might be very good news, it is interesting to me how this emphasizes the differences between cities and the coutryside. In the article, this last paragraph cought my eye: "But our correspondent says it is not clear whether the internet revolution will reach the villages, many of which still struggle to access reliable electricity." If there are going to be investments in infrastructure, should they not include working on that too?

Re:Very good news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804189)

It's always easy to say "Shouldn't they ..." .... and always bullshit!

Who's "they"?
Why would they?

This cable was laid by a company.  This is what "they" do for a living, apparently.  You can hold them responsible for electricity and everything else that's "missing" in the villages, but it won't help a bit.  "They" are not into electricity, and "they" have already invested their own money in fiber-optics, exactly like "they" wanted to.

Your generalization of "them" makes absolutely no sense at all.

Re:Very good news! (1)

woutersimons_com (1602459) | about 5 years ago | (#28804367)

Indeed, they is without meaning unless there is a reference available to explain the term.

If you read the article you see that it is actually the kenyan government working to push the infrastructure further into the country, which is then appended with a question whether this will improve the connection for villages. The government is investing their money to further the infrastructure to improve connections for schools, a good thing, but apparently for a large part of the population that lacks even more basic things, notably electricity, there is no improvement.

So yes "they" (the kenyan government and probably the governments of South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique as well) should focus on some investments there as well.

Re:Very good news! (3, Informative)

siloko (1133863) | about 5 years ago | (#28804083)

In 2000 37.2% of Africa's inhabitants were urban and it is expected to rise to 45.3% in 2015. From the wikipedia articale [wikipedia.org] on African Urbanisation.

Thats still well down on much of the rest of the world and still means 2 in 3 people are presently making a living "from the primary occupations of farming, hunting & gathering, cattle nomadism, and fishing." So GP is probably right enough in his comment about the villages . . .

Re:Very good news! (2, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | about 5 years ago | (#28804347)

It's not a safe assumption that everyone who isn't living in a large city is a farmer or fisher.

Re:Very good news! (-1, Troll)

rts008 (812749) | about 5 years ago | (#28804417)

Not everything in [insert country/nation/province here] is rural...

In Africa, the city dwellers are a minority of the overall population, not a majority.

There is a reason that Africa is considered a 'third world' country.

What is your point, specifically?

By your expected 'Epic Fail', I understand why you posted AC to avoid the backlash from your clueless pedantry...or you are a mindless troll.

Re:Very good news! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804483)

There is a reason that Africa is considered a 'third world' country.

Since when is Africa a country?

Re:Very good news! (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 5 years ago | (#28804591)

What is your point, specifically?

He was replying to a post that suggested that Africans don't need high speed internet, because they don't have electricity yet in their "villages". He never said that majority of Africans live in cities, just that not ALL Africans live in villages.

Re:Very good news! (5, Funny)

pinkushun (1467193) | about 5 years ago | (#28804447)

Obviously not, I'm posting this from South Africa - Would've posted sooner but my lion got stuck behind a giraffe-pileup on the freeway.

Re:Very good news! (2, Informative)

pinkushun (1467193) | about 5 years ago | (#28804599)

For interests sake, here are some photos [skyscrapercity.com] of one of our smaller coastal cities - Note all the wild animals. We have a very healthy human/nature relationship

Better than coconuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804789)

The undersea cable is way better that 2 coconuts tied together with a vine.

Re:Very good news! (0)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | about 5 years ago | (#28804013)

Thank god it isn't copper...
They can bearly keep phone and power lines up in Africa because people salvage the metal from the lines.

Talking of phone/power lines has reminded me of the thing I saw on tv where some people in India or South America (I can't remember which, maybe both) get power - they just sling some wire over the power lines to catch some free juice!

Re:Very good news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804415)

You're an idiot. Please don't post here anymore.

Re:Very good news! (4, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | about 5 years ago | (#28805087)

Afaict undersea cables aren't pure fiber. There is a fiber core which carries the actual data but there are also layers of conductors (not sure if they use copper or some other metal) to carry high voltage power to the repeaters and in shallower waters a layer of metal armoring to reduce the risk of damage.

Great news indeed!... (2, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | about 5 years ago | (#28804761)

Hi, I am Somalian prince.... ^@$%#@^ no carrier

Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28803925)

That is outstanding! I have been waiting forever for some East African Pr0n!

Snip Snip Snip (1)

siloko (1133863) | about 5 years ago | (#28803935)

There must be something wrong with the under sea cable industry (or at least theor press department) because whenever I read about them I have visions of outages and sabotage - is this cable gonna be a magnet for undersea pirates!?

Re:Snip Snip Snip (5, Funny)

adnonsense (826530) | about 5 years ago | (#28803973)

is this cable gonna be a magnet for undersea pirates!?

If it's coiled the right way, I'm sure it will be.

Re:Snip Snip Snip (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#28803977)

Damn it, I just posted the same comment below. You may have beaten me by 7 minutes, but my comment has a citation!

Re:Snip Snip Snip (3, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about 5 years ago | (#28803987)

Probably not. Most undersea cable is armored using metal sheathing when in shallow water and typically pumps are used to shift the sand where the cable lays so it drops into the sand and is covered by it, thereby protecting it. Your biggest concerns are large anchors from boats that ignore the "NO ANCHORING - UNDERSEA CABLE" markings on charts and people who would cut your cable where it gets to land (unless you're smart and buried it all the way to the enclosure).

Re:Snip Snip Snip (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#28804019)

So what you're saying is that there are markings on charts saying "NO ANCHORING - UNDERSEA CABLE", telling everyone where the cables are as well as how to harm them, and then wondering *how* the pirates would harm the undersea cables?...

Re:Snip Snip Snip (1)

LKM (227954) | about 5 years ago | (#28804319)

Pirates are typically not terrorists. Their goal is to steal the cables, not harm them.

Re:Snip Snip Snip (4, Funny)

CSMatt (1175471) | about 5 years ago | (#28803991)

Undersea pirates?

Are you telling me they have developed gills now?

Re:Snip Snip Snip (1)

siloko (1133863) | about 5 years ago | (#28804155)

Undersea pirates? Are you telling me they have developed gills now?

Well according to the RIAA Pirates are about to take over the world so I suspect gills are the least of their powers!

Re:Snip Snip Snip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804279)

Yeah, because it's simply not interesting anymore. All the good news happened back a few decades ago, so now it only matters to you when something goes wrong.

Used to be street lights were something special, now? Nobody notices them.

Besides, the NSA doesn't want people to be curious.

I hope this will be the final nail (1)

Cur8or (1220818) | about 5 years ago | (#28803949)

in telkom's coffin. Die monopoly, die.

Pirated broadband (4, Interesting)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#28803963)

According to TFA: "The cable was due to be launched in June but was delayed by pirate activity off the coast of Somalia."
I assume that by that they mean that the ships that lay the cable couldn't get to their destination for fear of being boarded. Can this become a new tactic for these pirates? Somehow damage the cable and then wait around for a ship to come and replace the cable segment?

Re:Pirated broadband (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | about 5 years ago | (#28804031)

well thank God they can now dock their ships and start sending out scam e-mails on their new OC line. All that sea travel was probably making some of them seasick.

Re:Pirated broadband (5, Funny)

rm999 (775449) | about 5 years ago | (#28804195)

They mean that bit torrent users in Somalia were using up so much bandwidth that the cable couldn't be used

Re:Pirated broadband (1)

rts008 (812749) | about 5 years ago | (#28804459)

Dude, apparently the moderators have no imagination or sense of humour.

I hereby give you an honorary +1 FUNNY, in lieu of mod points I don't have currently. :-)

Re:Pirated broadband (1)

FauxReal (653820) | about 5 years ago | (#28804397)

According to TFA: "The cable was due to be launched in June but was delayed by pirate activity off the coast of Somalia." I assume that by that they mean that the ships that lay the cable couldn't get to their destination for fear of being boarded. Can this become a new tactic for these pirates? Somehow damage the cable and then wait around for a ship to come and replace the cable segment?

I imagine that cable is probably pretty deep... and underground when it gets into shallows/onto land. But I'm no expert... I've never laid my cable under the sea.

Is there a mile below club?

Re:Pirated broadband (4, Informative)

operator_error (1363139) | about 5 years ago | (#28804647)

Wired magazine wrote a fascinating piece called Hacker Tourist in one of their early issues that described much of this in detail. Including historical cable & society references from well over 100 years ago.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.12/ffglass.html [wired.com]

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.12/ffglass_pr.html [wired.com] (same thing, but single page, for printing.)

Re:Pirated broadband (2, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 5 years ago | (#28804611)

Given that around 7% of all the world's shipping goes by the horn of Africa to get through the Suez canal, I don't think they need to bait any ships to come to them.

Abbada boo be ba *click* *click* baba (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28803985)

Bibbidy boppidy *click* poppaboobabba *click* *click* baba dobip bapa. Gucci purse?

Not sure it is great news (2, Informative)

Fotograf (1515543) | about 5 years ago | (#28804007)

it sure can open some prosperity to the region but usually ends used mostly as spam pots and servers for evil things. I was surprised how many even internet caffees was loaded with trojans and viruses in africa. Even in 3-4* hotels. Spreading internet is fine, but just lay cable, resell and forget is not good for internet as a whole.

Re:Not sure it is great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804801)

I think that's borderline racism.

Re:Not sure it is great news (3, Interesting)

skaaptjop (1604783) | about 5 years ago | (#28805085)

Good point. Let's roll it all up and leave the internet in the hands of responsible people like Americans and Europeans. They do such a fantastic job with oil and those Spanish fisherman off our coastline are such a joy to see raping our natural resources in the morning light. Your idea has merit. In order to control the quality and validity of information and data that the internet connects the entire world with, why don't we simply restrict access to all those individuals whom we deem to be threat, leaving the choice juiciest IP packets to ourselves?

Time to do VOIP (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 5 years ago | (#28804053)

I hope folks in East Africa will now be able to "VOIP" seriously. Their pay-as-you-go cellphone plans are insane at an average of US$0.15 per minute with extra fees for talking to a colleague on another network.

And yes, I know VOIP is not the savior or the world and its advantages will be to those who are mostly static, but it's a good start.

Re:Time to do VOIP (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | about 5 years ago | (#28804489)

I hear you! And data rates are stupendous - I use wireless which is more pricey, but only because I can't afford the line installation! Ironic no? We pay just over R500 for a 4G cap, that's about $65 a month. And that's on a special deal too! The public gets half the cap for that price.
VOIP has my vote! *jumps around excitedly*

Re:Time to do VOIP (2, Insightful)

tapanitarvainen (1155821) | about 5 years ago | (#28804569)

Here's hoping they don't prohibit VoIP to protect national telecom monopolies, as only too many countries have done...

Re:Time to do VOIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804917)

US$0.15/minute?

God, I'm so screwed, I need to move to East Africa....

$650M for a 17000km cable... (5, Funny)

this great guy (922511) | about 5 years ago | (#28804057)

It cost $11.65/foot - probably a Monster Cable.

Re:$650M for a 17000km cable... (3, Informative)

woutersimons_com (1602459) | about 5 years ago | (#28804103)

It must be, especially because of the distance it carries data. The rate of transfer is impacted by that 17,000 km so much that this can hardly be the cable you would find in your common datacentre. Add to that 2 years of labour costs and all the resources needed to lay the cable.

A quote from wikipedia: "Because the effect of dispersion increases with the length of the fiber, a fiber transmission system is often characterized by its bandwidth-distance product, often expressed in units of MHzÃ--km. This value is a product of bandwidth and distance because there is a trade off between the bandwidth of the signal and the distance it can be carried. For example, a common multimode fiber with bandwidth-distance product of 500 MHzÃ--km could carry a 500 MHz signal for 1 km or a 1000 MHz signal for 0.5 km." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiber-optic_communication#Bandwidth-distance_product [wikipedia.org]

Re:$650M for a 17000km cable... (5, Funny)

laejoh (648921) | about 5 years ago | (#28804193)

African or european data?

Re:$650M for a 17000km cable... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28805103)

laden or unladen?

Re:$650M for a 17000km cable... (3, Informative)

derGoldstein (1494129) | about 5 years ago | (#28804117)

Actually, the Monster Cable would be much more [amazon.com] .

Re:$650M for a 17000km cable... (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 5 years ago | (#28804421)

I know math is hard and all, and that it doesn't show the cable length on that link, but that's probably a 6 foot cable (I can't remember the last time I saw one shorter than six feet that I didn't cut myself), making it cheaper per foot than the undersea. Not by much though.

Of course, compare to a 100 ft cable for under $10 listed under similar products.

Monster seems to do well off the PT Barnum theory of capitalism--there's a sucker born every minute.

$38,235 per kilometer (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 5 years ago | (#28804251)

It cost $38,235 per kilometer, perhaps a reasonable price.

Re:$650M for a 17000km cable... (2, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | about 5 years ago | (#28804307)

It cost $11.65/foot - probably a Monster Cable.

Aye! It be a Sea Monster Cable!

Arrrghhh! Walk the plank, you scurvy dog.... (2, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | about 5 years ago | (#28804507)

That comment caused my parrot to fall off the poop deck in laughter whilst trying to add the wooden knobs to the Sea Monster cables, you insensitive clod!

May your sea-fairing, peg-legged ass be keel-hauled for this!...it was a good parrot, mate, and I'll miss it a lot!

Re:$650M for a 17000km cable... (1)

mrgiles (872216) | about 5 years ago | (#28804383)

It cost $11.65/foot - probably a Monster Cable.

You mean they could have spent far less money by using a metal coat hanger instead?

getting cut (1)

hydromike2 (1457879) | about 5 years ago | (#28804085)

cost: $ 650
time to build: 2 years
getting cut by an anchor on day 2: pricless

Sweet. (1)

morsmortis (1579229) | about 5 years ago | (#28804125)

Saharan desert lan cafes rejoice! Now #cc-power can grow to scam even MORE fat and lonely over 30-something githeads.

gn44 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804209)

from one folder 0n This po^st up.

Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804217)

Now I will be contacted by Kenyan princes needing to get money out!

Good, now I can get more money from Nigeria. (4, Insightful)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 5 years ago | (#28804225)

With this cable, the e-mails about my unknown dead relatives leaving me money will get to me faster. I am very trustworthy, that is why I get so much money from helping to recover money.

Goody, I can make more money helping the people who desperately need my help in recovery money.

Re:Good, now I can get more money from Nigeria. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804343)

Nigeria is in WEST africa, this is about EAST africa, and no it is not the same country.

Re:Good, now I can get more money from Nigeria. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804369)

Sir SoreHands,
First, I must solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction, over a public forum. Me are top official of the South Eastern Valley Regional Bank of Nigeria. Me who are interested in the finance of importation of great goods of quality into our country with funds currently trapped in the North Western Hilly Regional Bank of Nigeria. We request your help to access states such trapped funds.

Doing the reign of my dearly departed step-father, various ministries have funneled money from the South Eastern Vally Regional Bank of Nigeria and South Northern Valley Regional Bank of Nigeria into the North Western Hilly Regional Bank of Nigeria. Since he dead, no one has access to the aforementioned funds.

We am offering to you a 20% service charges for assist of moving the funds into your personal savings account. UPON full receipt of 85% of funds from the aforementioned North Western Hilly Regional Bank of Nigeria LTD.

Please, note that the transaction is 110% safe and we hope to commence the transfer latest Nine (8) banking days from date of receipt. I am therefore cautiously and certainly looking am you for assistance.

Please provide all of your banking, social security, address, telephone numbers, and fax numbers to my email address for to start work on this transfer.

Yours cautiously and faithfully, but not greededly

Dr. Jacob Smith PhD MBA NBA NFL
CEO_nort_western_hilly_regional_bank_of_nigeria_ltd_corp@gmail.com

Re:Good, now I can get more money from Nigeria. (1)

SlashWombat (1227578) | about 5 years ago | (#28804639)

Ha, I looked for a while, and actually expected the "Nigerian" scam. What surprised me was how far down it was before I found it!

With all that extra bandwidth, will there be an explosion in these types of offers?

Re:Good, now I can get more money from Nigeria. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804539)

Nigeria is in West Africa you insensitive clod.

Re:Good, now I can get more money from Nigeria. (2, Insightful)

jmorkel (952809) | about 5 years ago | (#28804717)

Quick geography lesson: in that "country" called Africa (where all the lions, tigers and bears live), there is this place called Nigeria, which happens to be on the left side of the map - that means West Africa, not East.

Way to sum up an entire continent of a billion people.

Whle we're indulging in stereotypes, fuck you... you ignorant American tool.

Re:Good, now I can get more money from Nigeria. (2, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | about 5 years ago | (#28804947)

Note: there are very few tigers in Africa. The native african tigers died out or left a very long time ago.

Re:Good, now I can get more money from Nigeria. (3, Insightful)

jmorkel (952809) | about 5 years ago | (#28804989)

Nor are there bears. As an African, I'm quite aware of this. I was alluding to a Wizard of Oz quote and was just being facetious.

Re:Good, now I can get more money from Nigeria. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28805063)

From TFA: http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46103000/gif/_46103574_africa_cables_466.gif [bbc.co.uk]

Please print this out and color in where you think Nigeria is. Now look at the red line. If your colors touch the red line, then print the picture out and try again. Repeat until you realize what an idiot you are.

Re:Good, now I can get more money from Nigeria. (1)

skaaptjop (1604783) | about 5 years ago | (#28805067)

Interestingly, those emails often quote numbers listed in London England. Clearly with continental drift going the rate it is, who needs undersea cables?

Local perspective (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804227)

As a resident of Kampala, Uganda I can say that this is a huge development here. East Africa is one of the last densely populated places on the planet that is entirely dependent on satellite for all data and voice communications. I currently pay about $50 a month for a connection that can burst up to 160kbps, averages at about 40kbps, and doesn't work about 30% of the time.

Re:Local perspective (1)

RockWolf (806901) | about 5 years ago | (#28804787)

As a resident of Kampala, Uganda I can say that this is a huge development here. East Africa is one of the last densely populated places on the planet that is entirely dependent on satellite for all data and voice communications. I currently pay about $50 a month for a connection that can burst up to 160kbps, averages at about 40kbps, and doesn't work about 30% of the time.

As a resident of Australia, the land of searing droughts, flooding rains and high-cost capped DSL, can I be the first to say... Ouch!

And we thought we had it bad...

/~Rockwolf

Re:Local perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804815)

I actually started crying when Slashdot's home page bloated to over 1 meg.

It took me 210 hours to download the Ubuntu 9.04 dvd iso.

I was at the Seacom launch party in Uganda (5, Informative)

WML MUNSON (895262) | about 5 years ago | (#28805025)

I currently pay about $50 a month for a connection that can burst up to 160kbps, averages at about 40kbps, and doesn't work about 30% of the time.

As another resident of Kampala, Uganda, I want to know where the you get your Internet from because that's the kind of connection I PRAY FOR EVERY NIGHT BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP.

Please excuse my rampant cynicism, but...

Where I work, we pay $1062/mo for a 256k/128k link with Datanet that's shared out to four sites (they claim we're on two bandwidth profilers and thus are getting 512/256 split between two links -- but I don't see that) which is up only 30% of the time on average -- though in all fairness the last two months have been OK.

And when I say OK, I'm only referring to the local link between us and our other sites around Kampala being stable, and not the Internet which is what we're actually paying all the money for.

It's not like we have anywhere to go, either. MTN is more expensive, Infocom is more expensive, Broadband Company doesn't yet peer at the IXP as far as I'm aware, UTL is more expensive, Africa Online is equal or more expensive, etc.

All of them do things like using private IP addresses in their public space, leave their VSAT customers modems exposed to the world with default admin/admin passwords, randomly block ports with no warning (like 25, for example), walk into the IXP and start ripping cables out in the middle of work-days with no notice, have zero customer service, charge you $1500 for a radio, try to force you to pre-pay three months before providing you service, don't give a shit when they don't provide service and you demand a refund, etc. (We've told Datanet we're post-paying and that's that, but this is not a normal procedure around here and they bitch about the fact that we do it all the time.) It took Infocom seven attempts to even get us a quote with the right items on it.

At my home I pay 245,000UGX ($120) for a 64k connection with MTN that is limited to 2GB of transfer -- when that runs out I have to "top-up" again. They don't determine my bandwidth usage at the cache, either. They determine it based on what comes in and out of my home radio. How's that fair? I'm PAYING for their VSAT link, not peered communications with other sites around Kampala (working from home, for example?) But I don't have a choice, because for what I need there's nowhere else to go short of paying double what I am now.

Furthermore, I was at the Seacom launch party yesterday at the Serena. Seacom came up and stated that they're selling bandwidth to the resellers at $50 - $150/meg depending on what you're buying (STM-1, STM-64, etc).

Yeah? Great! But then why did Infocom call me up a few days ago and tell me the "early-bird special" was $700/meg for a limited time only?

Meanwhile, when Seacom had the Ugandan ICT minister "cut the ribbon" yesterday, they asked him to "download anything he wished in order to get the fiber experience." After staring at the screen like a deer-in-headlights for a few seconds, he instructed his aide to download something for him.

This is the same guy that randomly announced that Uganda will ban ALL second-hand computers effective 2 months from today. That includes the P4's w/ 512mb ram, KB, monitor, and mouse sold for $70. These will be no more because Mr. I-don't-know-how-to-use-a-computer-ICT-minister wants to decimate half the computer industry here along with all tech related charities and re-raise the barrier to entry for this wonderful "landscape changing, poverty eliminating fiber connection." Why? He claims e-dumping, but that's obviously a bullshit cover for something else.

So while Tanzania and other countries were busy rolling out local fiber to their rural areas -- preparing for this event, we've got an ICT minister who barely knows how to use a computer and thus have nothing.

Oh, and I loved how Infocom (who provided the IT services for the event) dumped an STM-1 into a Linksys WRT54G for the launch event demo-link system. Guess what happened OVER AND OVER every time the 80 people in the room tried to use their laptops at once to download YouTube videos and skype?

That's the kind of shit that's going to happen on a larger scale... Fiber? Great. What about last-mile delivery?

Anyway, /rant.

All in all this is a fantastic development, and a monumental achievement for Africa and Seacom. It will change economies and lives. It marks the beginning of a new era for this region, and will hopefully help eliminate a lot of what I'm bitching about in the long-run.

I applaud Seacom, a 75% African-owned company, for pulling this off. Bravo!

From RSA... (4, Interesting)

garatheus (993376) | about 5 years ago | (#28804231)

I for one, welcome faster Internet. Here in South Africa we're lagging so far behind the rest of the planet, its quite rediculous. I hear from my friends overseas that they're being upgraded to 50mb/s lines - usually for free as a part of their service provider upgrading their infrastructure - we're still struggling on under 1mb/s lines - and at a price that is so high (when you look at the cost of the service and the availability of income - the Internet isn't something that is cheap). Heck, even if you look at the price overseas and factor in the exchange rate, its still cheaper to access the Internet oversea's than it is here (and you get far more for your money's worth). *sigh*. If only our Government wasn't so corrupt and inefficient, maybe we wouldn't be so far behind the rest of the world.

Re:From RSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804365)

I for one, welcome faster Internet. Here in United States we're lagging so far behind the rest of the planet, its quite rediculous. I hear from ....

Fixed.

Re:From RSA... (1)

codeButcher (223668) | about 5 years ago | (#28804407)

Don't hold your breath though. Chances of much of that pipe capacity reaching any of us bottom-feeding cash cows aren't that great.

Re:From RSA... (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | about 5 years ago | (#28804535)

I always get depressed when I hear how, in the US, you get high speed internet WITH your cable-TV. That is unheard of here in South Africa, and an untapped market at that!

Re:From RSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804575)

Here in South Africa we're lagging so far behind the rest of the planet, its quite rediculous.

We feel for you, truly we do. It must be awful not having access to modern software such as spell checkers.

Re:From RSA... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28805137)

Your government isn't any more corrupt or inefficient than any other. It's just that they are more overtly so.

Get the message (1, Funny)

Wowsers (1151731) | about 5 years ago | (#28804261)

Dear Sir / Madam

As you can see I now have internet access which makes me sending this important message to you much faster than letters.

I am a made-up chief of a tribe who due to circumstances has $26,000,000 which I would like to offer you 10% if you can help me move the money out of my country. With the new internet connection, you will find you will be paid much faster than ever, and I can spam more of the world faster than ever before.

[/sarcasm]

Scamming at 10Gbps (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804273)

Request for urgent business relationship

First, i must solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction. This is by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and 'top secret'. I am sure and have confidence of your ability and reliability to prosecute a transaction of this great magnitude involving a pending transaction requiring maximum confidence.

We are top official of the federal government contract review panel who are interested in importation of goods into our country with funds which are presently trapped in Nigeria. in order to commence this business we solicit your assistance to enable us transfer into your account the said trapped funds.

The source of this fund is as follows; during the last military regime here in Nigeria, the government officials set up companies and awarded themselves contracts which were grossly over-invoiced in various ministries. The present civilian government set up a contract review panel and we have identified a lot of inflated contract funds which are presently floating in the central bank of Nigeria ready for payment.

However, by virtue of our position as civil servants and members of this panel, we cannot acquire this money in our names. I have therefore, been delegated as a matter of trust by my colleagues of the panel to look for an overseas partner into whose account we would transfer the sum of us$21,320,000.00 (twenty one million, three hundred and twenty thousand u.s dollars). Hence we are writing you this letter. we have agreed to share the money thus; 1. 20% for the account owner 2. 70% for us (the officials) 3. 10% to be used in settling taxation and all local and foreign expenses. it is from the 70% that we wish to commence the importation business.

Please, note that this transaction is 100% safe and we hope to commence the transfer latest seven (7) banking days from the date of the receipt of the following information by tel/fax; 234-1-7740449, your company's signed, and stamped letterhead paper the above information will enable us write letters of claim and job description respectively. This way we will use your company's name to apply for payment and re-award the contract in your company's name.

We are looking forward to doing this business with you and solicit your confidentiality in this transaction. please acknowledge the receipt of this letter using the above tel/fax numbers. I will send you detailed information of this pending project when i have heard from you.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Clement Okon

Get ready for the spam onslaught... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804331)

I AM A PRINCE IN EAST AFRICA. I NEED TO TRANSFER 13 BILLION DOLLARS TO US...

lameness filter wont let me post as I would like...

Watch this space!!! (5, Interesting)

miano (972548) | about 5 years ago | (#28804401)

East Africa's technological growth, particularly in Kenya and Rwanda, has been hampered by ridiculously expensive bandwidth. My university had (still has, I believe) a 2Mb/s internet connection that was shared by a faculty and student community of about 5000. It was practically unusable. Call centers in Nairobi simply couldn't stay afloat even after being given tax incentives and having low wage bills(typical monthly salary for a call center worker is $400/month). Bandwidth prices have reduced by a factor of 4 and while its not expected that they will reach levels in Europe and America any time soon as ISPs and investors recoup their investment, the immediate benefits, lower latencies and higher reliability as compared to satellite, are already being felt. The are lots of bright people with great ideas that have been held back by the high cost of internet. With the arrival of the Seacom cable and TEAMS later on, I have no doubt that East Africa will become a major player in BPO, software development and research in the years to come.

The little mermaid voiped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28804553)

Under da sea
Under da sea
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter
Take it from me
Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we devotin'
Full time to floatin'
Under da sea

West African First Post!!! (1)

rishistar (662278) | about 5 years ago | (#28804613)

Well, it will be one day when we get our cable.

Ahoy, me Hearties! (2, Funny)

axllent (220868) | about 5 years ago | (#28804659)

So now the East Africans will have the ability to be virtual pirates too!

Ahh cummon, someone had to say it ;-)

From the undeveloped side of Silicon valley (3, Funny)

viking80 (697716) | about 5 years ago | (#28805003)

I live in San Jose, California. I can see Google, and other campuses from my house. I can not get High speed internet. I use a dial-up line. I am just a little bit up the hill, and the new development less than 200m down the hill all have high speed DSL, they also have comcast cable. All that does me little good, as nobody will connect me.

Maybe the telecom companies will have extra resources to connect me, now that they are finished with Africa.

telecommunications in SA (1)

Necroloth (1512791) | about 5 years ago | (#28805083)

Not sure about the rest of Africa but I was shocked to see the price plans for the internet in S. Africa. My cousin was getting a 0.5Mbit connection for something line £20/month and he was shocked to hear that i was getting 2Mbit for £10 (which is now upgraded for free to 10Mbit). I was told that a reason for the high cost in SA is because they've had a technology leap rather than slowly upgrading their systems and so there was a lot more investment costs. Most SA I know have internet on their mobile phones as pc's are still relatively quite expensive (to their income... it's about the same price as in £). But what was even more surprising is a lot of poor people have mobile phones! They struggle to get food on their plate yet they will have a mobile phone to their ear! Strange country.

Yes, finally faster scams (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28805119)

For far to long we have had to deal with the slow speed. Now we get faster and better money and mail order bride scams. Horray. I'd say lets disconnect them all together.

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