Archive for the ‘fibre optic’ Tag

Free Internet Until Jan 4th, from KDN Butterfly

The nabobs that be at Parkside Towers, KDN HQ, looked across the city scape, and said, let us give them free Internet until 4th Jan. So KDN is extending their Butterfly service for free as a year end bonus for 2009. They are hoping you will remember this gesture of goodwill and sign up for their service, if you haven’t already.

My only wish is that the KDN Customer Scare, sorry, Customer Care nabobs can look across the city scape and say, let us offer them the best customer experience, let us create stark-raving mad evangelists from our customers, let us make them so happy, they will shed tears of utter joy, let us organize our Customer Service machinery and indeed the entire organization, to serve them best, and let’s see the business balloon, but no. That is too much for them to do. Twirling their fingers 24-7 is a better way to spend their important time.

I wish the Tech Support nabobs would look across the cityscape and say, let us over-support our customers. Let us pro-actively manage our network, let us tweak, look under the hood, test, re-test, simulate, and otherwise anticipate all possible tech problems. I wish they could say, let us quickly and firmly deal with any issue that escapes our attention and affects the customer, hence making them happy and productive. But no, that is too much. Twirling their fingers 24-7 is a better way to spend their important time.

You then wonder why our economy is stuck! The landing of the under sea FOC is not the end all be all, that is just humongous bandwidth to be hawked.

Service delivery is king! Just do it, KDN! Period.

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Is Safaricom Internet Screaming Fast?

Just got off the superhighway using Safaricom Bambanet, and my tyres are still smoking! I still cannot believe the speeds I experienced! Have the speeds increased, nay, skyrocketed? It was too fast for a typical Kenyan like me who is used to snail speed Internet.

What is the experience of you Bambaneters? How is the speed? Is your airtime getting finished too fast? Does anyone know how Safaricom calculate the actual download / upload usage?

Some users are aghast at the speed, not of the connection, but of the airtime being depleted at speeds greater than those inside the fibre optic cable.

Enlighten us people. What’s your experience?

Kenya on The Global Fibre Optic Map, Finally

Seacom has gone live! Finally. I was to break the champagne bottle on 27th June 2009, but July 23 is still OK. Read more from Daily Nation.

Internet broadband has become a reality in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Uganda for the first time after one of the four awaited undersea cables was finally switched on today (Thursday).

The Seacom cable went live simultaneously in the four countries in addition to South Africa, and the Kenya portion of the cable was immediately connected to five internet service providers.

However, Seacom officials declined to name the ISPs because their customer contracts barred them from revealing such information.

Seacom, a privately-funded consortium, laid the cable at a cost of US$865m (Sh67 billion at current exchange rates). It is due to be connected to Rwanda in two weeks.

The commissioning was marked with a live telecast by Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete in Dar es Salaam with the media in Kampala, Maputo, Johannesburg, London and Marseille.

“The arrival of this cable signals the beginning of a new era in the telecommunications sector,” said Mr Kikwete.

“History has been made.”

Cisco Systems vice-president Le Roux, whose firm provided the technology for the cable, said: ” “Today is the day technology has arrived in Africa.”

Seacom announced that it would offer wholesale prices in the range of $100 (Sh7,700 ) per megabyte, with even more subsidised costs of between $10-$25 (Sh770-Sh1,925) dollars to schools, and research and health institutions.

“I can emphatically state that broadband will change the connectivity and economy of Africa,” said Seacom president Brian Herlihy in a live feed from the Tanzanian capital.

Five yet-to-be-named internet players were the first to access the 6,500 kilometre-cable following the switch and will now connect their equipment to the marine cable as they prepare to link offices and homes.

Internet in Kenya

Fellow Kenyans! At least that is how I will be starting my speeches after my
inaugration…..but I digress. I wanted to create a new forum for the user
experience with Internet access in Kenya. Be it at home, at work, on the move, in your village, in a cyber, in school, in a cyber in the village, on your mobile device etc

Let us share and educate each other. Post in the comments section below and I shall update the post with the comments, editing for clarity, brevity and to remove repetition.

I would like to chronicle pre and post fibre optic cable Internet connectivity in Kenya.

NB: Am very keen on Linux users….am told you can “tweak” your connection speeds in Linux.

I shall go first….I work from my balcony at home (but I don’t say). Currently am using KDN residentail broadband solution, a.k.a Butterfly. They have installed a wireless modem in my crib, my laptop is wi-fi ready (of course), so I hook up from the balcony, bila shoes! They have various packages ranging from 100/- to 5K, I think. The difference is the speeds and duration of connection. Am currently on 2,990/- for a whole month, unlimited! Contact Icon Telesec, the service resellers and installers on info@icon.co.ke or +254 20-386-0023 (office)

If only KDN could update their Butterfly website with these details, I would be happier. While I have yet to achieve the speeds Joe Gathu speaks of, am happy with the price / service. Once the FOC down the road from my crib is hooked to our gatehouse, am sure bandwidth will improve. We are currently on a wireless backhaul to the KDN network.

So post your expreriences below, and I will pick the items and update this post categorized by provider. Also feel free to email me your guest blog post for consideration as a full post on the same topic.

Happy surfing!

Review of Fibre Optic Cable in East Africa — Part 1

The much-talked about digital divide has left a yawning gap between the Eastern African countries and the rest of the world. A lot has been done by national telecoms companies, mostly former lethargic government-owned entities. They have kept us connected to the world using satellite links. Though stable, we have to contend with high costs. Higher bandwidths usually means more money shelled out. The cost of satellite links is high, and their reliability and bandwidth not the best. We shall retain the links as back up, since even under sea cables get broken or cut by deep sea trawlers, if not under sea quakes. Time has now come for us to cross the chasm and leap into the information superhighway. Hello world!

Not to be left behind, the Kenyan government, inspired by a growing economy hungry for information has spurred growth in the telecoms sector like never before. For once we have an enabling and responsive political climate. This has meant the government can now attract top-notch professionals to steer the ship across the digital divide. The Ministry of Information and Communications is now very visible and its PS is very vocal and energetic on matters fibre optic cable connection to Mombasa. The Kenya ICT Board on its part is the vehicle driving the ICT dream all the way to my village. I hope my people shall appreciate all these efforts.

We have many home grown companies that are complementing Telkom Kenya’s efforts to connect us. Telkom on their part are now a leaner and more efficient outfit, thanks to a restructuring and eventual sale to France Telecom. Their service provision has gone a notch higher, inspired no less by emerging start ups hungry for their business. Invariably, the battle for the fibre cable connection has gone a notch higher thanks to the new entrants.

First off the block was Telkom who laid a fibre between Mombasa City and Nairobi City. This was unprecedented, and Kenya Data Networks (KDN)matched them, with a similar link. The two went on to expand the fibre mesh within the cities and now it is common to have lit fibre in your door step. Not to be left behind, Jamii Telecom took the battle to the streets of Nairobi with their KES. 300 million Nairobi Metro Fibre. This mesh aims to bring fibre-to-the-home (FTTH). Lastly the Kenyan government through its Fibre Optic National Network (FONN) is laying fibre to the entire country, connecting villages and erstwhile remote places to the hubs in Nairobi and the landing spot in Mombasa. The Kenyan map has never looked better.

The missing link is Mombasa to the world …. but not to worry. We have two competing cable teams, TEAMS (The East African Marine System) and EASSY (East African Submarine Systems). The first, TEAMS, is a joint venture between the Govt of Kenya and Etisalat, the UAE national telecom operator. We should be hooked via Fujairah, UAE by Q1 of 2009. The Alcatel-Lucent cable laying ship is working round the clock to ensure this dream is realized. The other, Eassy, is an effort by the telecoms companies to get a share of the pie by laying a submarine cable all the way to Durban, South Africa. The more the merrier!

In part 2 we shall look at what all this cable being laid means for the Kenyan people and economy.