Update on the Internet Access Troubles…

So I received a quote from one of the satellite companies…eh, no thanks. I figured the equipment prices would be insane, and they were. I guess we’ll have to go with U.S. $100/month for 64kbps. It’s a start, no? And most of the equipment they require is something I already have, or I can at least ask the CFU team to bring it from the U.S. at a cheaper price.

But there is good news because this insane price is temporary. Very temporary.

John informed me today that the Chinese were actually close to finishing the National Internet Backbone. I thought they had just started recently, but apparently they’re working very quickly. Not all things are on African time here. Anyway, the backbone should be finished in about two months! The prices for Internet access should go down dramatically within the next year now that companies outside of MTN and UTL aren’t forced to use those privately-owned backbones. MTN saw this coming. They were crying foul at the Ugandan government for putting together this project—”It’s a waste of money, we already have a backbone!” Oooh, I just want to smack the CEO in the face for taking advantage of the Ugandan people. I won’t really—I’m not that violent…but, sheesh. Anyway, MTN will get their retribution.

So let’s focus on what’s ahead!

John has some excellent plans for this country. First, I’m very glad that he pushed hard for the National Backbone. Infrastructure is number one, then you can address the rest of the issues. I really like his idea of opening up free wireless access points for people—perhaps that will spark a greater interest in IT. He should also open up a very cheap Internet cafe as soon as the backbone is installed for people who don’t have laptops, as the cafes now are much too expensive for the average Ugandan to visit at any sort of regular basis. Oh, this is getting exciting (as if it isn’t so already). The computer refurbishment center, the first of its kind here, will be an excellent addition to what will soon emerge in this country.

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