Kung Fu Baby and the SEACOM Cable Launch

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.

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  • finally. i cannot begin to describe how aggravating a slow internet connection is. even posting a blog article was a major feat. not any more.... :)

    By Anonymous kenyantykoon, at 9:22 AM  

  • Awesome. The Web is finally World Wide. Is this ceremony in Kampala?

    By Blogger O.D.B., at 11:37 AM  

  • Grand aint it....

    By Blogger amani, at 6:32 PM  

  • This is good news. I Money spent in internet cafes will be worth it!

    By Blogger Unknown, at 8:59 AM  

  • Hahaha. That standard technique for watching YouTube videos is so funny. Funny because every time i send Youtube links to friends in Uganda I mostly get told "I couldnt watch it because it wouldnt open" or "its so slow", so I tell them just pause it, and let it buffer, then onces its done run it. I'm glad that speeds are better. Hope prices come down for Uganda real soon too.

    By Blogger Wendal, at 11:09 AM  

  • the launch is readily welcome, but there is already talk by some of the service providers that costs for connectivity may only drop by 20% and over a period of time, this is what readily discourages us in Africa. I have a post on it at :http://siku-moja.blogspot.com/2009/07/seacom-under-sea-fibre-optic-cable.html

    By Anonymous Nairobian Perspective, at 1:02 AM  

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