Posts filed under ‘internet’
The Association of African Universities has called for African leaders to use the end of a monopoly on a submarine communications cable to provide cheaper Internet access for students.
The SAT-3 submarine communications cable — which runs from Europe down Africa’s west coast — is currently monopolised by a consortium of state-owned and private telecommunications providers in different countries, and pricing structures have been the subject of criticism.
That monopoly ends in June, which could open up internet access for west African nations.
Information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives in African universities are suffering due to expensive, slow and limited connectivity, says Akilagpa Sawyerr, the executive secretary of the Ghana-based Association of African Universities (AAU).
“In our universities you’ve got 18,000 students and 1,000 teachers using the same amount of bandwidth as an American household,” said Sawyerr at a conference on African development at the UK-based Open University last week (16–17 May).
“The more people that use it, the slower it works. And because of the monopoly pricing in Africa, that university will pay 50 times more per unit than the American household.”
Sawyerr says the association needs to persuade governments that ICT programmes will not work without connectivity and effective networks between universities.
Rather than looking at expensive satellite Internet services as a solution, west African universities should be accessing the SAT-3 cable, he says.
“The monopolies run out in June and it is very important that before our governments renew their licenses we persuade them that these companies could give away a portion of their lines at a discounted rate to us,” Sawyerr said.
“We need those who are making the choices at higher levels to realise that it would cost them quite little and make a difference.”
He said the AAU is keen to work with other African organisations to lobby governments to this end.
Read the whole story on the Science and Development Network.
A Norfolk company has developed an inexpensive wireless internet service, which has been linking coastal villages in the East of England and will now be distributed in the developing world.
Newman Concepts has partnered with the Commonwealth Business Council to supply the broadband technology to developing Commonwealth countries.
The company’s Managing Director Will Newman is heading to Johannesburg in coming months to organise distribution of the technology to Africa.
“The fact that technology developed here in West Norfolk will benefit those far less fortunate in the developing world is a humbling realisation,” said Will.
The Digital-Bridge Network technology uses a wireless backbone system, with users connecting at access points along the backbone using fixed aerials from their premises.
While in England and Europe the technology can eliminate black spots, much of the developing world is a black hole when it comes to internet access. Solar energy can be used to power the broadband access in developing areas, where schools and hospitals will be brought online.
“Giving access to schools and hospitals has the potential to help a lot of people in countries where most can’t afford their own computers,” Will said.
The technology will be distributed to more English black spots by another Norfolk business, Swains Voice and Data Plc, while the East of England Innovation Relay Centre is working to take the technology to mainland Europe.
“This is good news for us, for all those who have helped us, and for the people of West Norfolk,” Will said.
“It is just a first step and there remains a great deal to do. As we step down this path there will be many hi-tech jobs created here in Dersingham which will boost the local economy and provide a career path for more local people.”
Read this article on the Norfolk Network.