Features

The Broadband Revolution is Just a Fiber Away

Police’s fire brigade was yesterday called to put out a fire in Nakasongola town, malady http://ciencialili.org/libraries/gantry/features/font.php in which a woman and his lover were set ablaze.

According to eyewitnesses, http://channelingerik.com/wp-includes/media.php Geofrey Owele the husband to the deceased Mary Otto set the house on fire after he was tipped off that his wife was inside with another man. He reportedly bought fuel, sprinkled in it all over the house roof and torched it.

The promiscuous wife survived the fire with severe injuries while her lover boy was killed in the inferno.

Police is on the hunt for Owele who after committing the crime, went into hiding.

“That is not how family issues should be dealt with; we advise people to always come in for counseling whenever such issues arise. It’s unfortunate, we lost a life here,” said area police spokesperson Lamech Kigozi.
The address of the President of the Republic of Rwanda, treatment http://darkfey-temple.org/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-upgrader.php H.E. Paul Kagame, at the last Transform Africa Conference was as expected, on point and inspirational.

Here is a small excerpt from it just to illustrate my point:

“As you know, the Smart Africa Initiative has become a reference point, for boosting digital transformation on our continent. But it’s what we actually do that makes a difference.

 For example, last year in the eastern Africa region as the minister of ICT just mentioned, we established a One Area Network: traffic numbers are up 400%, prices went down and revenues went up. Everyone was a winner. This required no extra investment besides political will.

 So, imagine how much more we can achieve together, right now, with what we have, if we maintain this momentum.”

More than just another speech, this was a call to action. A call that anyone should feel inspired to answer; which, by the way, was quite refreshing since we’ve had more than our fair share of speeches and promises of endless opportunities for the past three years.

What happened to them? Have we given up on our dream of becoming Africa’s ICT-Hub or is it just taking a little longer?

All the investments in the fiber infrastructure, hosting facilities, smart startups and ISP’s seemed to suggest that access to broadband was already a done deal. Well no, the broadband business is not taking off at the pace we would expect.

So, what seems to be the missing link?

At least three components are absolutely necessary to create a Hub worthy of that name

You need the data highways that can deliver on volume and speed, hence the Fiber Network

You also need to host a maximum within that network to maximize local traffic rather than international

The third component is the Internet Exchange Point (IXP) that works as a portal for international connection and interconnects for local operators.

Have I lost you yet? Hopefully not!

But for the sake of clarity, let me explain to you how it should all fall in place:

If hosting is accessible and competitive it will attract local, regional and eventually international hosting seekers and content providers.

An operational fiber network both accessible and competitive will generate local and international traffic seeking to access content.

The Internet Exchange point (IXP) will avoid data exchange between local operators to happen on an international platform. By keeping it local, it will cut the cost to almost zero-rate. International providers seeking our local content will eventually solicit our IXP.

At that point Rwanda will start to export data, which is bound to positively influence the cost of Internet. The more volume Kigali exports as the demand for local content grows, the more it will compensate the ratio import/export. In other words, cutting the cost of import with more export will make Internet cheaper.

Imagine our farmers in Musanze having to travel every night to sell their potatoes in Kampala, because of better conditions than anywhere in Rwanda, only to see them brought back by resellers to be sold on the Rwandan Market at an over-the-top price. Crazy, isn’t it? And yet this is exactly what happens with our content providers.

So why do local providers host their content outside Africa? Simply because they offer better conditions and cheaper rates.

As a result the local content consumers go and get it where it is. Instead of generating local and international traffic on a Rwandan platform, it is all directed to an international host.

This said, even if the content was to be hosted here, another hurdle to overcome remains: the charges from the operators.

Imagine having to pay to enter a mall, it would simply make no sense. Paying for Internet when importing content from abroad is understandable, but should we be paying the same on locally hosted content? I think not. In most developed telecoms and ICT environments, local content is given unlimited at lowest rates at the example of telephone companies.

And lastly comes the issue of access to our Fiber Network. For the past three years since it has been put in place, next to no one outside Government has access to it. But the Government is hardly to blame for this, the private sector needed to step up to the plate with a last mile solution to bring the fiber connection to our homes and businesses.

So in the absence of Fiber-To-The-Home solutions (FTTH), the Government once again stepped up to the plate and partnered with Korean company Olleh Rwanda Networks to bring a wireless solution to accessing the fiber network, the 4G LTE.

However the offers for the public are limited to 1G a day. And all the resellers of 4G LTE offer the same monthly deal of around 39,000 Rwf with 1G a day. That 1G-a-day won’t last beyond 65 minutes on a 4G network at 20mbps.

Rwanda’s broadband investment level is so that you can access anything that requires high data debit like watching HD TV but operators are preventing it by an unfortunate business model managing the infrastructure. The capacity is there and has been there but remains underutilized by the market. Broadband drop-per-drop defeats the purpose of it.

Until local bandwidth is offered unlimitedly on 3G and 4G alike, there is no any chance of increasing the traffic quickly, massively and consequently into real broadband business remains a fleeting illusion.

Unlimited access to local content keeps the user connected and happy, which in turn is definitely bound to attract more users on 4G who will also have internet requests through the same channels. And no, increasing local hosting and local traffic won’t decrease demand for Internet content but rather increase the export of local content as a result of a buzzing home traffic and a content friendly environment.

And this export will again generate straight revenue for the operators. And the more we export content, the cheaper importing other content will be, the more traffic in and out, the more broadband business and the more revenue for all, notwithstanding the impact on the economy as a whole once we fine-tune the software that makes it flow.

So how about we go back to the drawing board and reshape our business model to be a win-win for all. Now is the time to heed the call to action and make true this vision of a Rwanda connected to the World…or rather, a World connected to Rwanda!

The Broadband revolution is only a fiber away.

By Albert Rudatsimburwa

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