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The Internet

Africa - Offline And Waiting for the Web 253

Posted by Zonk
from the can-i-borrow-a-cup-of-internet dept.
The nytfeed provides us with an article about the current state of internet connectivity on the African continent. Only 4 percent of Africa's population has regular access to the internet, with most of those people living in North African countries, or the country of South Africa. This might seem like a market ripe for development, but the article explains that there are numerous difficulties involved getting an infrastructure project off the ground. "Africa's only connection to the network of computers and fiber optic cables that are the Internet's backbone is a $600 million undersea cable running from Portugal down the west coast of Africa. Built in 2002, the cable was supposed to provide cheaper and faster Web access, but so far that has not happened. Prices remain high because the national telecommunications linked to the cable maintain a monopoly over access, squeezing out potential competitors. And plans for a fiber optic cable along the East African coast have stalled over similar access issues. Most countries in Eastern Africa, like Rwanda, depend on slower satellite technology for Internet service." The good news is that, of course, progress is being made. Just ... slowly.
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Africa - Offline And Waiting for the Web

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  • by sokoban (142301) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @07:39PM (#19941827) Homepage
    Yeah, the internet is one of the last things Africa needs.

    I'd say that Social, Political, and Agricultural reforms are FAR more important to the average African than the good old WWW.

    Africa is living proof that imposition of a foreign structure and hierarchy followed by throwing fists-full of aid money is not enough to improve the lives of a people.
    • by BeanThere (28381) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @07:48PM (#19941885)
      Uh, the SAT3 fiber cable wasn't built with any aid money, it was built with tax income from a previously nationalised and now privatived telecomms utility using income from mainly businesses and residents in South Africa itself. Those businesses forked over for it - and continue to do so - because there's a genuine need for it, so get a clue.
      • Damn, I must be going blind, because I don't see anywhere in the comment where he said anything about aid being used for the SAT3 fiber cable. I think he was talking about how billions in aid money haven't helped much in social, political, and agricultural reforms.

        That's arguable, as is the importance of Internet access to Africa. I mean, after all, India is one of the most bitterly poor countries in the world, but their technical infrastructure has improved the lives of many people there and is bringin

    • by dhasenan (758719)
      Africa has oil, diamonds, and copper as some of its major resources.

      Diamonds? De Beers owns most African diamond mines.

      Copper? Zimbabwe sold off its copper mines recently because they were losing money. The price of copper has quadrupled in the last ten years. (And people are emigrating to Zimbabwe...)

      Oil? Foreign companies own most African oil wells and pipelines. In some countries, these oil companies hire the military to defend the pipelines and wells. In some of these, the military has stolen the pipeli
      • What would happen if all foreign aid was removed from Africa for two years? The death toll would be in the hundreds of millions.

        Nope. A large number of aid workers, and an even larger number of corrupt officials would be out of business. For the rest it would probably be business as usual.

        You are under the mistaken belief that aid goes to the poor. Nope. It goes to the corrupt - it is what feeds corruption and incompetent governments. Get rid of aid, and Africa would be booming.

        African countires are not

    • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @10:16PM (#19942691) Journal
      Yeah, the internet is one of the last things Africa needs.

      I'd say that Social, Political, and Agricultural reforms are FAR more important to the average African than the good old WWW.

      Africa is living proof that imposition of a foreign structure and hierarchy followed by throwing fists-full of aid money is not enough to improve the lives of a people.


      Interesting viewpoint. A few points immediately sprang to mind though:

      Firstly, access to better information via the internet can play its part in improving social, political and agricultural conditions in Africa.

      Granted, there are other problems, such as infrastructure, to overcome but that doesn't negate the benefits that internet connectivity could provide to developing world nations.

      Secondly, the "imposition of a foreign structure and hierarchy followed by throwing fists-full of aid money" can work... in the right circumstances. West Germany after the Second World War is one example. Clearly today's Iraq isn't though.

      The keys would seem to be honesty and acceptance: if you genuinely care about improving the situation on the ground and can convince people of your sincerity then you can make huge changes for the better. However, if your help is poisoned by political or economic rhetoric then you're doomed to failure and/or accusations of attempting to profit from the situation.

      Forcing HIV/AIDs-related programmes to teach abstinence rather than educating them about the benefits of using a condom, even though you know that the abstinence message will fail but that condoms will save lives, because of religious pressure is crazy.

      Similarly, pushing African mothers to use powdered baby milk rather than encouraging them to breastfeed, which is a healthier option, just to sell more of your product is exploitative at best.

      Put another way, if developed nations really wants to help less fortunate nations then perhaps thinking about themselves and what's in it for them should disappear from the equation.

      Lastly, Africa is a pretty big place. It's not homogenous, and what might be a problem in one place might have already been solved somewhere else. Anything that helps disseminate knowledge can only be a good thing, especially in rural areas.

      Imagine how much and how quickly you can find help online when your PC's playing up compared to how little and how slowly you can find it offline. Now imagine that information on something more essential to your everyday life, like basic healthcare advice, how to repair a vital piece of machinery, or how to save a crop.

      Even something as simple as knowing what the average shopper 10,000 miles away will pay for your produce could make a huge difference: knowing that might help you secure a fairer, more beneficial price for your harvest, which in turn could dramatically improve the standard of life for you and everybody around you.

      The possibilities are limitless.
      • by denttford (579202)
        Yeah, the internet is one of the last things Africa needs.

        I'd say that Social, Political, and Agricultural reforms are FAR more important to the average African than the good old WWW.


        I do not mean to minimize any of the problems Africa faces. However, I think the printing press has had fair amount of success in effecting political and social change throughout history; how much more with its modern analogue when the cost of production approaches nil and the ability to post (for example) video of abuses i
    • Africa is living proof that imposition of a foreign structure and hierarchy followed by throwing fists-full of aid money is not enough to improve the lives of a people.

      That's about what messed it up in the first place, except the money was thrown a different direction.

    • by LehiNephi (695428)
      You're right. I'm actually in sub-saharan Africa for a month for work, and Internet connectivity is certainly not the highest priority. The village across the street from me now is constructed mostly of grass huts, with a few clay-brick buildings with corrugated steel roofs. There's no running water or electricity, let alone telephones or internet access. Most of the natives still live in small tribes, herd cattle and sheep, and practice subsistence farming. They plow their land with two cows and a plo
    • I work in Africa (Score:2, Interesting)

      by abarrow (117740)
      I work in Angola, in telecoms/networking. I've been working with the guys in various African countries for the past 10 years, but I've only been working in-country for the past 18 months.

      I expected the worst when I got here, and I wasn't dissapointed. Everything they say in the article about lack of satellite capacity and high costs of SAT-3 is true. We're just about to pay a company $1MM Euros/yr. for 6Mb of bandwidth out of here - compare that to your home DSL line. The in-country infrastructure is a
      • Interesting points, it's always good to hear from someone who actually knows what they're talking about on here.

        Do you think that the connectivity problems are feasibly solvable with the seemingly rampant culture of bribery and graft in many of the countries? It seems like there is a huge Chicken/Egg problem with respect to infrastructure and reforms going on.
    • by hachete (473378)
      I hope that the internet would be an end-run around the corrupt officials. I'm not saying it's a silver bullet - Africa could do with less of those, not more - but it might allow the people to connect directly to each other for information rather than going through the system. Although the system doesn't like these sorts of deals and treats them as disruption accordingly; it will get beaten with the usual array of whips (from "think of the children" to "piracy") by the local corrupt officials. However, if w
    • by Zibblsnrt (125875)
      Right, because everyone knows a continent with a population of nine hundred million across fifty-three countries is incapable of multitasking.
  • Rejoice! (Score:5, Funny)

    by antek9 (305362) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @07:42PM (#19941855)
    I heard, Nigeria is about to be connected. I received mail from my new business partner down there today. If all overdue money transfers go through well, fiber optic broadband for the people is just around the corner. Or so I'm told.
  • Fortunately (Score:3, Funny)

    by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @07:43PM (#19941861)
    Those parts that are connected are using it to fight corruption. Why just yesterday I got my third e-mail from the widow of a former government employee who needed my help to move some funds out of Nigeria so that the corrupt government couldn't get its hands on it. All they needed was my bank account number.
  • Bigger picture... (Score:5, Informative)

    by lixee (863589) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @07:47PM (#19941883)
    Truly enough, the traditional monopolies of the telecom companies are what's keeping the prices high up. To talk about the case I know best, the Moroccan telecom company IAM (Maroc Telecom) abuses its monopoly in so many ways that citing them would require a whole article. The people benefiting from that are, of course, the political and business elite. It wouldn't surprise me that the government is purposely keeping the masses off the Web to keep them blindfolded. Aware citizens would certainly demand change from the dictatorial regimes Africa's infested with.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      Aware citizens would certainly demand change from the dictatorial regimes Africa's infested with.

      The same dictators supported by the West?

      'The West' (America, England, France etc) have supported, propped up, or installed dictators in numerous countries on the African continent at some point or another within the last 20 years.

      Dictators were the West's way of keeping a lid on various fractured populaces for the purposes of maintaining stability, usually so western powers could continue exploiting the resourc

      • by lixee (863589)
        Absolutely. I thought it went without saying. But in times when lots of people are buying the whole "spread democracy" line, it doesn't hurt to spell it out.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by toddhisattva (127032)

        'The West' (America, England, France etc) have supported, propped up, or installed dictators in numerous countries on the African continent at some point or another within the last 20 years.
        You left out Russia and China, but they're the good guys so nobody should criticize them.
        • The USSR backed the Angola rebels, otherwise I don't recall them being that active in coups, revolts or the like. What did China do in Africa that compares with any of the others?

          The original post, however, is still historically a wreck. The West has only been relatively "hands-off" since the late 1980's. It's 500 years before that have been the problem, not the past 20 years.
        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          You left out Russia and China, but they're the good guys so nobody should criticize them.

          You make a valid point.

          However, I took the behavior of those countries for granted, considering they both have strong central governments... thus there is no inherent contradiction with their foreign policy.

          Western countries have been in the dictatorship business for centuries. The Enlightenment Period (1700s) was no such thing when it came to their foreign policy.

      • by technos (73414)
        Dictators were the West's way of keeping a lid on various fractured populaces for the purposes of maintaining stability, usually so western powers could continue exploiting the resources of those countries.

        It's only a recent phenomenon that spreading Democracy has been considered a better idea than installing a strong dictator to hold things together. Despite that ideal, look at how many dictatorships Clinton and Bush Jr have been buddy buddy with.


        I don't think that the 'Spreading Democracy!' meme Bush and
      • by TapeCutter (624760) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @10:44PM (#19942817) Journal
        "I guess what I'm trying to say is that the populace can demand all the change it wants, but there are many other parties who have a keen interest in maintaining the status quo."

        The treatment Hamas has recieved from the EU & US clearly demonstrates what western leaders think about the spread of democracy. They don't mearly fail to recognise "the right of Hamas to exist" they actively seek to destroy it, the US has recently gone so far as to arm and train Fatah militants in order to maintain the status quo via the good ol' divide and conquer routine.

        The odd thing is that Hamas has kept it's word and has not used suicide bombers for over 3 years (yes, they stopped BEFORE they were elected by ~70% of the popular vote), this self-imposed "restraint" is despite the fact many of it's elected officials have been assasinated or kidnapped by Isreal during the last 3yrs. Even more curioius is the fact that the suicide bombers during that time have come from the Fatah group, the same group that the US have recently armed and trained to fight Hamas.

        Just to remain on topic you can see the same strategy in Africa, during the 70's-80's the SLA were considered an "evil" in the heart of Africa, apparently now that China has control over Sudan's oil, ...err...I mean....influence over Sudan's rulers...., the SLA are the "good guys" who require our assistance to protect their ancestral homeland [abc.net.au].

        Of course the prime example of hypocricy in our time is the fact that - 25yrs ago OBL & Saddam were both "good guys" fighting the commies with our "generous" financial and political support. I could rant forever with similar examples, $2B worth of attack choppers donated to Burma's nut-job rulers in '97 anyone? /rant

        Disclaimer: None of this makes "the other side's" actions any better, but if anyone thinks I have my facts about Hamas all fucked up, read this [theage.com.au], and double check the information for yourself.
        • by jez9999 (618189)
          The treatment Hamas has recieved from the EU & US clearly demonstrates what western leaders think about the spread of democracy.

          Yeah, because Hamas has been behaving [debka.com] in a really calm, rational, and democratic way recently.
        • Hamas use rockets to target civilians, which is active terrorism.

          Hamas use antisemitic propaganda -- for instance, The Protocols of Zion [wikipedia.org] which was a large inspiration for Mein Kampf (which sells well in the Arab World, by the way).

          When some Austrian nuts was in the government, Austria were isolated. Even that party would never have thought of using Nazi-inspired antisemitic propaganda.

          Of course the prime example of hypocricy in our time [...]

          Let us see... A country in the EU was isolated (wi

    • As a South-African citizen I believe that progress is finally taking place, I also believe that South-Africa specifically is on the verge of a dramatic internet boom. Hopefully, other sub-Sahara country's will follow, but also learn from our mistakes. Up until a few years ago Telkom, the monopolizing, mainly government owned telecoms operator was the only company in South Africa that was allowed, by law, to provide landline-based services and VOIP was illegal. Since the beginning of the new Government in
  • How would we build an internet infrastructure? What processes can we use to build fiber optics? Or what sort of PCBs and connectors would we need to make the "last mile" work? This looks like a project just waiting for some interested individuals to get some big plans together.
  • Doesnt he mean 'ripe for commercial exploitation'?
    • by Kohath (38547) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @08:14PM (#19942017)
      Yeah, my Internet service provider commercially exploits me every month. What a ripoff. I get high-speed Internet and they want to get paid for it!!?!?

      Why would anyone in Africa want that? High speed internet -- who needs it! Someone might make some money by providing it to people. Money! They should work for love! They should make fiber optic cables out of their own altruism and power the routers with the self-satisfaction they get from doing good.

      What evil thing will those exploiters do next? Commercially exploit hunger by selling good, healthy food at a small profit? Better to starve than allow such exploitation!
      • by nurb432 (527695)
        The internet is the modern vehicle for exploitation by both governments ( control of information ) and corporates.

        Exploit hunger? it happens every day. Remember the UN's 'food for weapons' programs? Thats a good example of international exploitation.

        • by Kohath (38547)
          By "exploitation" do you mean a situation where I voluntarily go into a store and buy something -- perhaps a book -- and pay for it? I wanted the book more than the money, and the store owner wanted the money more than the book, so after the transaction both the store owner and I consider ourselves better off. Is that the kind of "exploitation" you mean?

          That's the commercial relationship I have with people and corporations, including my employer. Should I feel commercially exploited by them? Should I co
    • You say that like it's a bad thing.
  • "Don't get me wrong, I love that video with that weird dancing Indian midget. Although, I could really go for some drinking water, AIDS medicine, and less raping."

    -A Nigerian Prince
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @07:58PM (#19941943)
    I was in Uganda on a Technical Advisory mission in 2002 and was outraged by the cost of internet connections down there. For a 128Kbps (down) and 32 (up) link, the organization was forking US$275 per month. This was for unlimited use.
     

    A bit off-topic here: I also got educated in a way...that is...I realized that it is actually hotter in USA (Texas) than in some of these African countries that we think are way too hot. Temperatures never went above 86 degrees F, in the capital (Kampala)...compared to the 113 degrees in some parts of the US lately.

    • It is the altitude. Most of Africa is very high above sea level. It is sad to think that the 'golden age' of Africa was the colonial period.
      • by akintayo (17599)
        Could you be so kind to explain how the 'golden age' for Africa would be the colonial period ?
  • Irony? (Score:5, Funny)

    by eli pabst (948845) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @08:11PM (#19941999)
    I love the irony that there is a thread also on the front page about the few OLPCs that are being sent to Africa are being used to surf porn. How can you rich westerners downloading your terrabytes of porn just stand by while the poor children of Africa are smacking it to dial-up?!
    • by Kjella (173770)
      I'm probably showing my age here, but to sum it up in one sentence:
      If we could do it not so long ago, so can they.
    • "..*snip* ..while the poor children of Africa are smacking it to dial-up?!"


      Finally I understand why all those "Last longer.." e-mails are sent from Africa! ;o

  • by ImustDIE (689509) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @08:14PM (#19942015)
    The internet may not be a top priority (food, medicine, etc). But, bringing the internet to people may help with these things. What if poor farmers could learn new agricultural techniques using the internet? Or what about spreading better disease awareness? Not to mention the potential freedom it could bring once people realize there are alternative forms of government. Instead of just throwing fistfulls of money and medicine at these countries, open internet access could help them start doing more for themselves. No, I wouldn't say bringing the internet to third world countries is the top priority, but it certainly won't hurt.
  • The last thing africa needs, is another distraction. food, clean water and stable government are the only things they should be focusing on right now. faster internet, is wayyyy down on the fucking list ok.

    the internet affords them nothing tangible, which is what they need.

    • by bky1701 (979071)
      Food and clean water would be more easy without so much overpopulation. Stable government would probably come about if they were better informed; if you lived in a place where corruption was considered normal, and you never really seen anywhere it wasn't (stories, but there are also stories of Atlantis and dragons), why would you ever even get the idea it was wrong?

      I have heard a few times about Africa, and when you really think of the people there as PEOPLE, not some type of robot, it makes more sense.
  • OLPC, anyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Qubit (100461) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @09:37PM (#19942491) Homepage Journal
    They're putting them in the hands of kids in Africa and elsewhere, but the OLPC and other pervasive technologies are going to be a big part of education-driven social and political reform in 3rd world countries. And that reform will have to take place before wired telephone and internet connections are available everywhere...

    The fact that children in Africa are accessing porn is a good sign. It's f*cking AMAZING! Why? Because that means that for the first time these children are reaching out and interacting with websites and other people across the globe. If they are connected, then can receive information and they can SEND information.

    Africa has huge issues with corruption. Africa has huge issues with genocide, rape, tribal warfare, dictatorships... and the list goes on. But the really great thing about technology is that while it can enable people to have guns and bullets and other tools of war, it can also give them cell phones and tiny laptops.

    If more and more villages in Africa have access to technology that is not dependent upon the grid for power or for an internet connection (solar or manual power, satellite or some kind of ad-hoc network for Internet access), then that will enable communities to unite, it will enable people to be educated about relevant health, political, and social issues, and it will (hopefully) enable groups of spread-out people to push through reform of governments and pave the way for new infrastructure.

    If you see a homeless person on the street, giving them a few cents might help them for a day, but the best thing you could do for them is to help them find the right path for them to take to earn money and become a contributing member of society.

    There are a number of possible ways that we in the Western world could help starving children in Africa. The best way for us to help people in 3rd world countries is to give the individual people tools which enable them to organize their communities, reform their governments and companies, and build up their countries from the inside out. A generation of children communicating through small, portable, rugged computers seems like an excellent tool to jumpstart the organize-reform-build process.

    And then when they are a first-world country they can have spiffy fiber-to-the-premises broadband for all, just like we do in America. Oh wait.

    Hmmm... perhaps we need to start encouraging OUR kids to do some social/political reform as well!
    • by TempeTerra (83076)
      The fact that children in Africa are accessing porn is a good sign. It's f*cking AMAZING! Why? Because... If they are connected, then can receive information and they can SEND information.

      *snicker* Sorry, I realise you're not advocating this at all, but a selective quotation of your post makes it sound like you're excited about Africans achieving financial independance as producers of child porn. Good luck with that political career ;)
  • I don't think the fact that you are Black, or White have has anything to do with whether your civilization is progressive or reactionary. The problem is idea and thought. The ideas and thinking people in Africa have to change en masse before things will really change. I don't know if its entirely colonialism's fault. You should look in the mirror before you blame yourself.
    • Colonialism's fault? The U.S. and Hong Kong were colonies. Why aren't we that f***ed up? For that matter the U.K. was a colony of Rome before we were a colony of them. Colonialism is not even close to the cause of Africa's mess.
      • Thats what I'm saying here. Everyone wants to pull the race card, and the "well its the Colonial power's fault." excuse. I am saying this is a problem of belief and thought, and that thought needs changing.
  • Or maybe it's because they have bigger problems than not being able to surf porn and MySpace. Maybe, just maybe, they should work on things like stable governments and, you know, food and water first. Just an idea, anyways.
  • Counting on fixed intfastructure for Africa is wrong: The people are scaterred around in a vast continent. Ever seen Africa from Google Earth? It's full of small villages everywhere, even inside deserts and jungles. We should aim to potentially connect the whole of the African population to the Internet, not just those living in cities, and therefore we have to account for those in remote villages. Fixed cables are probably sufficient for the biggest of the African urban centres, but we need a wireless
  • by water-and-sewer (612923) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @05:36AM (#19944475) Homepage
    Greetings. I live and work in Africa (http://therandymon.com/content/view/104/59/ [therandymon.com]), so I happen to know a little something about the way things are. Frankly, I don't see the scandal in the fact that Africa doesn't have good access to the Internet, and reject this article on the grounds that (a) as usual, the story is focused on lack of infrastructure, which is not the correct focus, and (b) as usual paints a bleaker picture than neecssary.

    It's true service is slower and more expensive but in the capitals and in major cities there is more than enough to go around. In Benin there is dial up service for about $15 per month plus the cost of the phone call, ADSL service in the capital for about $75 a month for 256/128, and if that's not good enough you can pay more (up to $200/month) for greater bandwidth. It's more expensive than I'd like and the service is occasionally down for service, not to mention phone line trouble, saturated networks, and so on, but that's another story. The point is, I've got Internet in the capital (Cotonou, if you care) and it's essentially satisfactory. Inland in places like Burkina Faso and Mali they've got internet connections as well, but they are more expensive and the bandwidth isn't as good, since the network goes through the coastal nations - Ghana, Togo, and Benin. The big agencies - UN, embassies, major companies working in the region - also have available satellite internet at much higher prices.

    Lack of infrastructure is not the problem. Lack of a market willing to pay for the service that demands that infrastructure is, and as the market develops the infrastructure will suddenly seem like a worthwhile investment. You don't get Africans connected by building a bunch of equipment and hoping they show up. The second factor is regulation, which is clearly an area where African governments have some growing to do. To build a telecommunications sector (and make no mistake about it, if you put in cable and connections you're building the sector) you need effective government regulation. Unfortunately that has to happen from within, and no multinational company can effectively impose good government (and thus good government oversight) on a nation. The article's story about Kigali is a perfect example of this point.

    In the meantime, where's the scandal? I have friends and colleagues who live in small villages inland, not in the capital. Every one of them has a hotmail/yahoo.fr/gmail account, and when they need to use the Internet they go to a cybercafe for a quick hour or two. That fits their budget and works well.

    If you want to connect Africa, help educate the people so they can improve their own economic situation. They will form the basis for a stronger economic market for these services, and the system will be sustainable. Impose on these growing countries the infrastructure before they are ready to sustain it and you will just perpetuate the development myth.

    Before leaving this post, I highly recommend you read White Man's Burden by William Easterly, if the idea of development interests you. After 40 years of investing in growing countries we know a lot more about it than before, and there are many lessons to be learned.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by syukton (256348)

      Frankly, I don't see the scandal in the fact that Africa doesn't have good access to the Internet, and reject this article on the grounds that (a) as usual, the story is focused on lack of infrastructure, which is not the correct focus
      Ok, let's take a look here...

      not to mention phone line trouble, saturated networks, and so on
      Strange, those sure sound like infrastructure problems to me!
  • Let's leave aside the issues of life, like infant mortality, life expectancy and disease morbidity and focus on the relevant issues:

    Less than 60% of Africans are literate.
    20% of Africans don't have electricity and that number is increasing by almost 10% per year. That is, they're losing it, not getting it.
    Less than 1% of Africans have land line phones. Less than 10% have cell phones, and coverage is spotty, unreliable and low rate.

    Africa is waiting for the web like dolphins are waiting for a subway.

    The peop
  • by Jim Hall (2985)

    The nytfeed provides us with an article about the current state of internet connectivity on the African continent. Only 4 percent of Africa's population has regular access to the internet, with most of those people living in North African countries, or the country of South Africa. This might seem like a market ripe for development, but the article explains that there are numerous difficulties involved getting an infrastructure project off the ground.

    But, didn't we just send a bunch of internet-enabled laptops there?

  • ... It may well be, but it doesn't have the bandwidth. I'm from the UK and essentially work for the EMEA region of my employer as a consultant, which has resulted in my last 3 trips being 2 to SA and one to Israel. While there may well be internet in these countries, the bandwidth just isn't there, to the point where Yahoo mail breaks, and facebook, my VPN, Google mail, and I really wouldn't try to watch anything on YouTube.

    So, it may be great to get everyone connected, but they will be on a different tie

  • I must say it's amazing to find there's even one country with a worse broadband deployment than Australia.

    Oddly enough their deep well of pain and suffering is due to exactly the same problems we are struggling with here in Down Under land.

    the cable was supposed to provide cheaper and faster Web access, but so far that has not happened. Prices remain high because the national telecommunications linked to the cable maintain a monopoly over access, squeezing out potential competitors.

    No surprises there.

    Been There, Done That.

    Still have the scars to prove it.

    Still hoping one day we'll have a government interest in waking our country up from THIS NEVERENDING NIGHTMARE.

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