Archive for the ‘broadband internet’ Tag

Fibre Optic Cables and Internet Bandwidth in Kenya : The Basics, part II

As discussed in part I, Kenya and the East African countries, recently joined the rest of the world in high speed, limitless bandwidth connection. This is thanks to the sub-marine fibre optic cables landed at Mombasa. So the BIG question that arose, was, now what? Or so what?

In the digital global village, high speed connectivity heralds a new dawn, hitherto not possible due to the limited capacity connections we had. New breakthroughs emerge as the world is able to communicate in a faster and more reliable way, thanks to the technology now available. The technology itself is not new, but the availability is.

For a growing economy like ours, there are myriad ways we can cruise into this new information super highway, and lift ourselves and the standards of our living. I cannot even begin to exhaustively cover what is possible due to the connections we now have, its is too broad a subject. I shall endeavour to narrow it down to what I think is relevant for the Kenya of today.

The knowledge economy driven by digital erasing of geographical and intellectual boundaries, is ours to take. We can leapfrog other economies by adapting ourselves to the new world that is now knocking. We can create new industries, new jobs, increase our industrial and agricultural capacity all using this new age technology. We can improve our academics in schools and universities, tapping into knowledge bases in far off countries. Our doctors can collaborate with colleagues across the globe and deliver better health care.

Our governemnt can take services online and enable its “customers” efficiently transact and consume services better. We can sell our farm produce in far off markets from the comfort of our farm houses. There is no limit to what we can do.

Specifically;

1. Applications Development – Software developers are having a field day. The new connectivity is bringing in lots of possibilities to create, test and deploy new software. Web applications, mobile applications, and freelancing are all happening at the speed of light. They have access to immense databases of source code, the DNA that software is made of. This access at high speeds means they can adapt the source code for our specific needs. This shortens the software development life cycle. They can collaborate with like-minded individuals across the globe and enhance their skills. The possibilities here are limitless. Is anyone taking advantage?

2. Outsourcing – There are tremendous opportunities in business process outsourcing, popularly known as BPO. This is where specialist companies are formed to take over the non-core, back office work of other corporations. This leaves the BPO’s customers to concentrate on their core businesses. The possibilities here are only limited to our innovation and industriousness. Other business opportunities lie in contact centres. Recently several of the mobile network operators have outsourced their customer care business to contact centres. This leaves them to manage their core business. Other opportunities lie in cloud computing, Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, data centres, and dedicated, ICT-centric free economic zones (FEZs) and software technology parks (STPs). The technology, know how, financing, skilled manpower are all available. We however, need proper enabling legislation to propel these new age business. Then entrepreneurs can step in and start their ventures.

3. Academics – An initiative based at Kenyatta University known as Africa Virtual University is laudable. Using high speed links, there has been academic collaboration across the continent. The bandwidth now available should enhance this venture further. Whole digital libraries are now available. The largest library on earth, the US Library of Congress has a mind-boggling digital collection, and can be accessed by any authorized person with a computer and high-speed internet connection. We can also digitise our volumes and have them accessed by other people. Academic video on demand, streaming video from content servers strewn across the globe, live video feed from lectures or class sessions across the globe are all distinct possibilities. The only limit, our speed of adapting to these possibilities. Other countries are not waiting.

4. Business and Trade – Trade and commerce enters a whole new dimension. New markets, research, bidding and competition are enabled in ways we have never seen before. E-commerce is on the rise. A distinct attraction is SMEs face low barriers to entry into the word of e-commerce. Business alliances are being formed electronically across the globe, and new markets open up daily.

5. Government – With e-government initiatives, efficient services, higher revenue collection, rapid results can be achieved at low cost. Kenya Revenue Authority’s initiatives in this area are a case in point. It is commendable that there is genuine work in this direction for various governemnt departments. Video conferencing can drastically reduce travel costs and achieve more efficient meetings. We need to study how other governments have done it.

6. Telecommuting – This woud have the most significant effect on socio-economic progress in our country. As rural-urban migration puts pressure on resources in cities the pressure is on. Telecommuting can cut down wastage in non-essential travel, better utilization of time and skills, multi-tasking, use of video-conferencing for meetings, collaborative webinars, conference calls… the list is endless. We need new labour laws, we need to re-think the whole work scene. People should be able to work from anywhere they can connect, so long as their work does not need physical presence at their work place.

I have just scratched the surface above, and the list can go on and on. We need new work ethic, innopvate new ideas, get the legislature to enact new laws to ensure smooth working of the new digital age economy.

In part III, we discuss the flip side. Risks, security, theft, moral decadence, criminal activities….Yes all these come hand in hand with the sweet revolution. Every sweet smelling rose comes with thorns, I think.

Let me have your feedback below.

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Sovaya Broadband Internet

RE: Internet Broadband Service Offer.

Let me take this opportunity to introduce you to our Organization. Sovaya was established in 2004 as a Wireless Local Loop Operator. We are a Wireless broadband service provider that combines carrier-grade toughness with exceptional performance, security, ease-of-use, and scalability. More information on the company is available on request.

Sovaya provides multiple services such as high speed Internet, IP video surveillance, Voice over Internet Protocol, and network to homes and businesses over a fixed WiFi wireless broadband platform.

To achieve these Sovaya communication has adopted a wide range of products to complement established businesses and provide complex systems solutions to the IT world.
We have formed business alliance with major players in the IT industry and have trained personnel to meet the demands of our clients.

Our Product Offerings

Wireless Internet services
Surveillance IP cameras
E-mail services

1. Internet services

We offer wireless internet connectivity.

We do not charge;

installation fee or equipment cost

2. Surveillance cameras

We provide Sovaya IP solutions.

IP surveillance uses internet to transmit images to enable remote viewing and recording from anywhere in the world.

Other advantages include;

Remote accessibility
Easy future proof integration
Scalability and flexibility
Cost effectiveness

3. Email services

Email has become an integral part of everyday communication for both business and personal use. We offer the following services:

Domain registration
Domain transfers
Mail servers for corporate clients
Outlook configuration
Personal Sovaya email

4. Bandwidth
Our standard Service Offerings are in Shared Bandwidth.

Dedicated Bandwidth is available on request.

Service Offerings:

STANDARD BANDWIDTH OFFERS Monthly Charge
Pay per usage Kshs. 1 per/min
64 kbps uplink/160 kbps downlink Kshs. 4,002.00
128 kbps uplink/256 kbps downlink Kshs. 9,280.00
128 kbps uplink/386 kbps downlink Kshs. 14,442.00
256 kbps uplink/512 kbps downlink Kshs. 22,040.00
320 kbps uplink/700 kbps downlink Kshs. 29,000.00
512 kbps uplink/1 mb downlink Kshs. 40,600.00
1 mb kbps uplink/2 mb downlink Kshs. 72,268.00

DEDICATED BANDWIDTH OFFERS Monthly Charge
Pay per usage Kshs. 1 per/min
256 kbps uplink/256 kbps downlink Kshs. 18,560.00
512 kbps uplink/512 kbps downlink Kshs. 34,800.00
1 MB uplink/1MB downlink Kshs. 60,320.00
128 kbps uplink/256 kbps downlink Kshs. 91,640.00
kbps uplink/512 kbps downlink Kshs. 108,576.00

We can also custom tailor the service to specific demand.

We do not charge you any installation fee and we do not charge you for the equipment either.
All prices are inclusive of 16%vat.

Thanks.
Regards,

Tobias Otieno Obura

Sovaya Communications Ltd.

Mobile: 0721 992 457

tobias@sovaya.com

Balcony BroadBand

Fellow Kenyans, wireless broadband has arrived on my balcony! Those who have been following my quest for wireless broadband on that my balcony (bila shoes) will know I have searched high and low. The problem with Kenyan service providers is they tend to spend alot of time launching lofty products, with lots of shock-n-awe, glitz, pomp and ceremony. They then take all available stands in exhibitions, shows, malls, and so on and show off their latest services with jaw-dropping demos that leave you “seeing stars”.

Now try calling the sales office, and you usually get indifferent sales staff who read from some print out and churn out jargon about Wimax, and fibre optic cable, and wireless-this-wireless-that, they talk of ADSL and upload and download and 256kbps and 512kbps and 1MB, and DHCP and WLAN and stuff…… Bottom line, they know zilch! Between the demo staff and sales staff, lots of sales are made. Try the after sales service (if any).

So it was with lots of trepidation that I filled some forms and had technicians hook me up to a nifty, ADSL modem, with wireless capability in my sitting room. Stay tuned as I kick off my shoes and hit the balcony with the laptop. Ahhhh, broadband on the balcony, bila shoes. I will keep you posted and also how you can have these people close the digital divide for you.

What your comment on residential broadband using FTTH? That is fibre-to-the-home.

Broadband Internet in Kenya? Are we there yet…….Pt 1

Fellow Kenyans …………. Anyway, alot has been written about broadband (or the lack thereof) in Kenya. Everybody is touting its connectivity to be broadband, and promising uptime of 99%, the holy grail being 99.999%. All nicely said, but what is broadband? Many definitions abound, but without getting bogged in speeds and stuff, it is all of the below, and more….

Technology that enables faster internet access, and as a result allows services such as interactive digital TV, video conferencing and video. Go here for more.

High-speed Internet generally taken to be Internet offered at speeds greater than 150Kbits/second. Go here for more.

Refers to three different kinds of high-speed Internet connections; cable, DSL and satellite. Go here for more.

Without getting bogged in terminology, read this this gem from Wikipedia: 

Although various minimum speeds have been used in definitions of broadband, ranging up from 64 kbit/s up to 1.0 Mbit/s, the 2006 OECD report is typical in counting only download speeds equal to or faster than 256 kbit/s as broadband, and the US FCC currently defines broadband as anything above 768 kbit/s. Speeds are defined in terms of maximum download because several common consumer broadband technologies such as ADSL are “asymmetric” — supporting much slower maximum upload speeds than download.

Broadband is often called high-speed Internet, because it usually has a high rate of data transmission. In general, any connection to the customer of 256 kbit/s (0.256 Mbit/s) or more is considered broadband Internet. The International Telecommunication Union Standardization Sector (ITU-T) recommendation I.113 has defined broadband as a transmission capacity that is faster thanprimary rate ISDN, at 1.5 to 2 Mbit/s. The FCC definition of broadband is 200 kbit/s (0.2 Mbit/s) in one direction, and advanced broadband is at least 200 kbit/s in both directions. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has defined broadband as 256 kbit/s in at least one direction and this bit rate is the most common baseline that is marketed as “broadband” around the world. There is no specific bitrate defined by the industry, however, and “broadband” can mean lower-bitrate transmission methods. Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use this to their advantage in marketing lower-bitrate connections as broadband.

In practice, the advertised bandwidth is not always reliably available to the customer; ISPs often allow a greater number of subscribers than their backbone connection can handle, under the assumption that most users will not be using their full connection capacity very frequently. This aggregation strategy works more often than not, so users can typically burst to their full bandwidth most of the time; however, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing systems, often requiring extended durations of high bandwidth, stress these assumptions, and can cause major problems for ISPs who have excessively overbooked their capacity. For more on this topic, see traffic shaping. As takeup for these introductory products increases, telcos are starting to offer higher bit rate services. For existing connections, this most of the time simply involves reconfiguring the existing equipment at each end of the connection.

Since this is Kenya, let us use 256kbps as the mimimum speed for broadband internet access. In part 2 of this series, I will compare the various offerings from the Kenyan market, so that you the consumer can make an informed choice. Let nobody bamboozle you with marketing hype. The low down is coming soon here! Don’t blink!

Wananchi wana Zuku

There is a new kid on the block, Wananchi’s Zuku. They are promising triple play (TV, broadband, phone). Read on.

I was happy the phone was answered on the first ring. Dial 020-329 2900 for the Sales team. Good start. Make sure you talk to Pauline, she always calls back.

Internet connection: They hook you up with a wireless connection (some drilling on your wall for the outdoor unit, cable to indoor unit then connection to your PC or switch in the house). For a damage of KES. 2,999 per mo’ you enjoy 256kbps, shared, repeat shared. The sales lady told me I should get 60-80% of the bandwidth I pay for, since its shared. I told her I would measure that and harass them later if I got less. Installation charges @ KES. 5,800. If you want to use a laptop to enjoy the service, a wireless modem will set you back KES. 7,500. That is for techophiles who want to roam their backyards or balcony while surfing. Important: They have to confirm if the signal is available in your area before you sign up. Nice touch.

For cable TV (delivered through fiber-optic cable), they offer various packages from 1,160 to 3,999 per month. You get a decoder with a smart card and you can veg your way to a couch potato. Installation, KES. 5,800. Again, they confirm that the cable is available in your area before you sign up.

If you sign up for both TV and internet, installation is only 5,800. The phone service will be available at a later date.

Call 020-329 2900 for details, email: sales@zuku.co.ke, or go here

Google Books (http://books.google.com)

Been trawling through the above site as part of my research. It is a very worthy initiative by the Google gang, and I cannot thank them enough. Research is very key to any writing endeavour. Your thoughts alone may not suffice in a full length book. To add value and perspective, one needs to quote and bring in perspectives from other writers.

This adds a lot of value for your book and also makes it a reference point to other written works. I was particularly impressed by the classics, since these tomes contain invaluable wisdom that has consistently stood the test of time. It is still relevant today as it was in those ages. Am currently reading Thinking and Deciding (Third Edition) by Jonathan Baron. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter is next.

This got me thinking about the more reason we need high-speed Internet access for all, since the we can travel to many places in the world and experience a richer life. I am still waiting patiently for the day I shall do high-speed surfing from my balcony, barefoot (which has a nice view of a forested area in my new neighbourhood).