Laptopless in Africa

Scaling / July 23, 2006 / Alykhan Jetha

Today I go on a semi-business, semi-vacation trip to Kenya and Uganda. I’m going to experiment with the level of Internet access a ‘semi-tourist’ can get over there.

The last time I was in Uganda (Nov 2004), I couldn’t get a connection faster than 16KB and in most cases I was lucky to get a 16 Bytes (literally). I had my laptop, but it was pointless. I couldn’t do anything.

This time, I’m going without a laptop (my wife is worried about withdrawal symptoms) and I’m going to rely on Internet Cafe’s.

I’ve been told that there has been significant progress in this area recently. So we shall see how far I can get.

Over there, they can leap technologies. For example, they have abysmal phone landlines, but they have surpassed quite a few ‘1st World’ countries when it comes to cell phone usage. I think they just aren’t going to bother with landlines going forward – what’s the point?

The same thing can happen with Internet access. There has been talk of Wide Area Wireless for some time and I think it is super important to the progress of those countries.

I know we have a few users in Uganda and Kenya. If you see this, drop me a line, maybe we can meet up. I’ll be in Kampala, Nairobi and Mombasa. I would love to see how our apps are used over there.

Until next time…

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