Kato Mivule | July 27, 2009
This past week saw SEACOM launch High Speed internet across East Africa, an event that will forever change the course Information Technology History in Uganda.
However, SEACOM’s launch comes a week after a British company ‘The Broadband Company’ “launched” services in Kampala Uganda, claiming that it was offering cheap prices for Broadband services in Uganda.
The difference however, is that SEACOM has heavily invested in High Speed Internet Infrastructure by laying undersea fiber optic cable all the way from the UK, to Uganda.
Yet the “Broadband Company’ headed by Arvin Knutsen is a middleman company with no infrastructure investments but only seeking to make quick profit in Africa.
Mr. Arvin Knutsen’s ISP Broadband Company claims that it will offer Internet Services to Ugandans between 70 to 140 US Dollars per month for just 64k to 512k… Yet on the other hand SEACOM will charge ISP companies 400 US Dollars per month to access their Fiber Optic Cable Services.
According to Press Reports in Uganda, this will be 6000 US Dollars Cheaper than the current 6500 US Dollars per month that ISPs pay to connect through satellite connectivity.
Despite the celebrations in the IT community in Kampala, Uganda’s Government needs to watch out for business middlemen who are out to hijack the current High Speed Internet infrastructure and set outrageous prices that will not benefit anyone.
SEACOM should force the likes of Arvin Knutsen and his ‘Broadband Company’ to offer cheaper prices as Africa will not benefit from the High Speed Internet and instead the Digital Divide that SEACOM has worked to close will only widen.
It seems that Arvin Knutsen somehow “got insider” information that SEACOM was about to launch in Uganda and flew ahead of the SEACOM Launch to hurriedly setup and launch his company.
Arvin Knutsen should pay his dues to SEACOM and charge Ugandans a fair reasonable price for Broadband Services.
Local Ugandan ISP Companies to rise to the occasion and invest in providing Broadband Services at cheaper prices and give very stiff competition to the likes of Mr. Arvin Knutsen.
Lastly since 75 percent of SEACOM is owned by local African Governments, African Governments should set price controls and dictate what ISPs can charge locals.
There is absolutely no reason why foreign companies like ‘The Broadband Company’ should come to Uganda and simply exploit the locals, make a big profit yet African Governments heavily invested in the SEACOM Infrastructure.
“Ugandans’ thirst to get connected to the world through faster data transfer and website updates without leaving the comfort zone has been quenched by the launch of broadband Internet service in the country. Seacom’s fibre optic cable that links East and Southern Africa to Asia and Europe through the Middle East, was intended at providing the East and South Africans access to the whole world through fast, affordable and reliable Internet services. Speaking at the Seacom launch in Kampala on Thursday, the company representative in Uganda, Mr Fred Moturi, said the undersea cable has a bandwidith which encourages volume discounts and large bandwidth growth unlike the satellite connections that have been dominating the country for the past years. It is expected that broadband will reduce the cost of Internet connection by more than 80 per cent lower than satellite connection with a capacity of 1.28TB per second, to provide the much needed Internet connection capacity… Seacom broadband Internet which will be sold to the Internet service providers (ISPs) at $400… ”
“…The first undersea cable to bring high-speed internet access to East Africa has gone live. The fibre-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…”
“…SEACOM, the cable provider company, opened its 17,000 kilometer submarine cable, capable of 1.28 terabytes per second, allowing the region true connectivity. Most Africans rely on expensive and slow satellite connections, which make the use of applications such as YouTube and Facebook extremely trying…”