RS2: Africa

A Giant Leap in 2016? Africa Is Narrowing its Techno-Gap

In 2016, a major breakthrough occurred in Africa to help close their digital divide. Africa has been struggling with little internet access for a long time, but according to Tereshchuk “a new subsea cable…enabling a reliable and affordable international connectivity service to both coastal and landlocked countries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa” will be a big advancement (para. 2). Liquid Sea is the project helping to bring this improvement to Africa. It is an “offshore subsidiary of Liquid Telecom, which already runs a pan-African network…for rural and remote areas” (para. 3).

There are a multitude of benefits that Africa has gained from the internet, however there is still an unequal distribution of access to the internet. Although there has been progress in the internet coverage in Africa, Tereshchuk states that still there are only “fewer than 16 percent of Africans have access to the Internet” (para. 7). Les Cottrell will be overseeing the success of Liquid Sea and notes the “daunting nature of Africa’s need for net improvement, given so many countries’ obdurate mix of poor connectivity” (para. 6). Cottrell also adds that Africa has very little bandwidth compared to other countries such as Europe and “the price for bandwidth in Africa is cripplingly high. While a university in Germany might pay about $4000 per month for 1 gigabit per second, a school in Kenya can expect to pay $200,000 for the same service” (para. 9). However, Cottrell and Liquid Sea’s objective is to provide help to Africa and Cottrell “will be there to test and evaluate the network down to its fine gradations” (para. 12).

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