Tuesday, July 21, 2009

East Africa goes broadband...

...while West Africa is still in the starting blocks (actually, still in the changing room wondering what to wear) with useless always-cut SAT3, a phantom Glo1 (are Alcatel's contractors stuck under a sand dune?) and the two new entrants, WACS and Main1 still way off beyond the horizon (next year if we're lucky). East Africa has embraced broadband and sprinted off with it while West Africa dithers and looks around.

As the always excellent Kenya Entrepreneur blog notes, a global market for freelance services now opens up on the East Coast. The majority of those online in Nigeria still have to either troop to their local cybercafe and wait for the Yahoo boys to finish their caps-locking letters, or stare frustratedly at the screen as Starcomms/MTN etc's fake broadband narrow-pipes data to their laptop. IT outsourcing and other services that can now emerge via reliable and authentic broadband are up for grabs for enterprising Kenyan businesses (offering a good time zone and first-language English). At some point, the Nigerian government will wake up to a lost opportunity one hopes and start to see that broadband is a necessary utility for a modern nation, alongside power and water.


Toksboy 3:25 pm  

Jeremy how many things do you want the Minister for Info and Comms to focus on what with her daughters weddings and the rebrand Nigeria "Good People, Great Nation, sod Broadband" campaign?

As for the people of East Africa I assume it is only a matter of time before I get a message in my inbox from Sam from Nairobi stating that Obama his is long lost brother and if only I would send him my bank account details a personal introduction could be arranged..

Sassy Trends 3:39 pm  

But I still think we self don try small nah..naija is waking up really...we are getting there..
It's just a matter of time.
How you dey?


dapxin 4:50 pm  

stop talking about "Nigerian go-fa-ment". It annoys me.

Anonymous,  10:39 pm  

Mr. Jeremy, Your concerns about Broadband connectivity in this country are well-placed. As an individual in the Telecommunications industry, I will like to shed some light on present on-goings. To an extent, Nigeria has access the SAT-3 without going through Nitel. Suburban telecoms ran a submarine fibre loop to SAT-3 in Benin Republic from Lagos. Hence SAT-3 capacity which was largely unused in Benin Republic is now being used in Nigeria. From what I gather MTN's Internet pipe largely comes from here (bout 400 Mbps) or so. So the issue of not being able to access SAT-3 because of Nitel does not arise. The fact that people are not able to enjoy the effect of broadband has to do with last mile access. GSM is not traditionally suited to fast data transfer without the enhancements of 3.5G /3/.75G or lately 4G(LTE). Maybe MTN has to set more benchmarks for Ericsson with respect to their 3G/3.5G delivery speeds.
Glo-1 is not a phantom cable. The ship carrying the last part of the cable will berth in West Africa next month. It will terminate in Accra and Lagos. A lot of bureaucratic processes are involved in getting it to berth in Accra and Lagos and it will happen when these are sorted out. They have to get permits, pay fees e.t.c I believe Govt. has to make all its agencies make this phase a reality. Glo-1 will be around by September.

I really wonder how Kenya got ahead of us in this field. By the end of the year , they will have landed 2 cables - Seacoms and Teams. Apart from the Submarine thing in Kenya, A private company has a terrestrial fibre cable going from Kenya to Uganda. Right now , 1MB of Internet access in Kenya costs about $400. You should have seen how the Kenyan Govt. was celebrating the arrival of the 1st cable last month. You would have thought they won the World Cup.

My conclusion is that we need a govt. that can make things happen for both Glo-1 and Main-1. Only then will we be able to catch up with Kenya

dapxin 6:01 pm  

anonymous + the internet == impenetrable complex. sometimes

C. Ezeh 2:27 pm  

As an avid follower of tech movements within Africa, its no surprise that our East African brothers are sprinting while we are still crawling. As good people of a great nation, there isnt a lot to be ashamed off. We take our cue from our snail paced leader...There is no hurry Jeremy. As we all say - God's time is the best!

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