securitas writes "The NY Times reports on the rapid growth of voice-over-IP telephony (VoIP) in sub-Saharan Africa and the battles it is waging with the government monopolies/ILECs. VoIP upstarts are taking market share from the government telcos, making it vastly more affordable to make a phone call since they don't charge the usual exorbitant tariffs and excessive user fees. Governments have responded by shutting down these operations, seizing equipment and cutting off service to lines they suspect of using Internet telephony. Part of the boom is related to the wait times for getting a phone line (Ghana Telecom has a backlog of 300,000 line requests), poor quality of service (50% of time you get a busy signal instead of a dial-tone) plus the willingness to trade voice quality for basic service. Foreign companies are now setting up VoIP call centers and multinationals like gold giant Newmont Mining plan to use VoIP for communications in and out of Africa. Some observers call Accra the next Bangalore, predicting a boom for the region that may make sub-Saharan Africa a major technology hub. This fits nicely with Kofi Annan's drive to use the Internet and wireless networks to change the lives of the poor."
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