The widely known technique for watching YouTube videos in Africa is to immediately pause the video when it starts, wait 20 minutes (or much more) until the video fully loads, and then watch. Today I’m at the ceremony launching SEACOM, submarine fiber cable stretching from South Africa to Mumbai and London, passing landing stations in Maputo, Dar, and Mombasa, and in land to Kampala and Kigali.
In the corner of a conference room, Peter Moreton, a procurement manager for SEACOM, beckoned me over to a display computer with YouTube queued up. We launched Kung Fu baby and for the first time in Africa, I saw a YouTube video load completely and play in 6 seconds. We ran a speed test and showed 1.8mbps, 10x what we have in the Appfrica office.
I also had the opportunity to do an exclusive interview Fred Moturi, Uganda director for SEACOM, and a couple of major investors. We talked about what the new international infrastructure will mean for competition amongst ISPs and what the cable will mean for rural users. I can't write that right now, because I'm waiting for the launch event to start, surrounded by a bunch of tech geeks, giddy as school girls, video-skyping friends in Europe for the first time.
Labels: east africa, technology policy