Seacom is here but don’t be surprised if nothing changes

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Many expect that today?s big launch of SEACOM would mark the beginning of the end of misery of many Kenyans. Kenyans expect faster internet, increase in bandwidth, end of slow dial-up Internet connections, end of crackling long-distance calls and above all the reduction in the cost of accessing internet.

Internet access Prices

You will not hear the talk of fiber optics without the mention of how expensive the satellite links which Kenyans have been relying on are. So what different will the launch of Seacom makes in term of the cost of accessing the internet in Kenya? In the ideal world the cost should go down by more than 90%, currently it cost ISPs US$6500 (around KShs.487500) per MB of bandwidth. According to Seacom they will be charging US$400 (around Kshs.30,000) per MB of bandwidth, but hold your breath, don?t expect miracles on this front. Recently UUnet CEO Tom Omariba claimed that cables will only bring down costs by 20-30 percent. He accused some players of hoarding frequencies. So who is responsible for that, who should ensure that nobody hoards idle frequencies? Yes you have got it right, the self declared overachieving CCK should do it. I have no beef with CCK but you might be interested to read Celebrating 10 years of CCK( Communications Commission of Kenya) non achievement by kenyanpoet.

Through twitter @SeacomLive has spent the last ten days or so constantly micro blogging about the much anticipated today?s launch. They also been at their best answering the numerous questions posed by bloggers. Unlike the recent launch by TEAMS graced by the big shots like Kibaki and Raila, Seacom is not talking about the landing, they are talking about the beginning of their services in the region. The launch means all ISPs who have purchased bandwidth from Seacom will have full access to it as the cable will be active from today.

I use orange modem and I know orange has a big stake on TEAMS, for that it is unlikely that Orange has bought any bandwidth from Seacom. So this got me worried because the information about when Teams will be operational is not clear. I had to ask Seacom which ISPs in particular have bought the bandwidth from them. Shockingly the people at Seacom think that revealing the names of their clients (ISPs) will jeopardize their relationship with others which are not yet on board. May be I am not getting something here but ISPs will only buy the bandwidth from the Seacom if they have somewhere to sell it. If the names of the ISPs with the faster internet are not revealed, then how do they expect Kenyans to enjoy the benefits? The following is part of the conversation on Twitter:

Kachwanya @SeacomLive i know my isp has not purchased the bandwidth with #seacom, so which ISPs have purchased bandwidth with you?

SeacomLive@kachwanya to maintain #Seacom‘s open accessibility as a cable to all ISPs, this kind of info cannot be supplied at present.

There you have it; they can?t tell you which ISPs have bought the bandwidth from them. So you have to either go round shopping for the ISPs using the cables or wait for not mentioned ISPs to come out on the open.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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