The most recent technology review has a good article on the transoceanic internet cable build-out happening world wide. It’s got a nice little map visual too, which allows you to see where things are (white lines) and where new undersea cables are being installed.
East Africa is one of the last major regions in the world to not have true international broadband (aka: “fat pipes”). Having just returned from a 3-week stint in Nairobi, I can tell you that these cables will make a huge impact on the local market.
Uploading video, watching video, uploading images, sending emails with images, receiving images, downloading applications, uploading zip files, FTP, VoIP calls… and more. All that stuff is painfully slow or impractical to do right now. You don’t realize how much you use these types of service in the rest of the world, until you’re forced to do without for an extended period of time.
I, for one, will continue to pray to the undersea cable gods that East Africa will see this cable by this time next year.
[Sidenote: I know a certain individual is interning at Google doing a paper on how the lack of bandwidth has crippled web business in East Africa. I’m looking forward to seeing it.]