Internet connectivity & Landlocked Countries: Counting on Marine Cables

26 02 2012

Saturday morning, I am all in my working mood, I plug my 3G modem into my computer and booom – internet is NOT working!! Usually when my internet fails I trying to fix it. I try to fix my own internet because I don’t like wasting my time calling customer support – who often doesn’t even know how to help! After over 14hours of trying my service provider sends me a text message:

Over 36 hours of limited internet connectivity and I must say that these have been some of the longest hours of my life. You know one of those days when you badly need to read your email but you can’t because the internet is down – Why is the internet down? You basically do not know. And just when you are about to go to the internet café you learn that the internet is down because apparently the marine cables which are supposed to be delivering a link of fast internet connectivity to your country are broken. The Marine cables are undersea optic fibre cables which were installed to deliver a link of fast internet connectivity to different corners of the world.

3G Vs Broadband Vs Dialup

At times like this I am very pissed at MTN (my internet service provider) and at the same time thinking, life was so much easier when we used to have broadband or that little dial-up connection. It is for that reason why I keep Orange as my other internet service provider on standby – this time Orange didn’t do any better. Back in the days dial-up and broadband internet was much slower than the 3G but much more reliable in terms of uptime.

The completion of the installation of the marine cables is the best thing that has happened to the internet speeds in Uganda as this was very much anticipated. Hoping that the fibre optic cables would bring fast internet to Uganda – I couldnt wait! Yes, to a certain extent the long wait was worth it; with 3G+ internet speeds in Uganda have greatly improved. But people like me are already seeing the cost that the failure of these marine cables will impose on our work/ businesses and economy at large.

Uganda like many other landlocked countries in East Africa are currently investing huge amounts of money to ensure that 3G internet connectivity is widely distributed but I must remind you all that we need to have backup plans for times like this when the marine cables are broken or malfunctioning. Many districts in Uganda don’t have access to broadband which means that when 3G is down, they are (almost) completely unplugged.

Recommendations to service providers about Customer Care

Oh and I probably forgot to remind MTN – I know that your services suck so much but can please send the SMS much earlier next time so I don’t waste a lot of my time “trying to chase the wind”? Thank You!

And to Orange Uganda – my other service provider, what happened to those timely SMS notifications? I used to be so proud of you but I now I am thinking that you have been in Uganda too long that you are already forgetting that Customer Care is key!

And again, broadband and dialup internet connections should still be considered as very strong substitutes to our “beloved” 3G!

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8 responses

26 02 2012
joy

Oh dear. Have you worked out what the trouble was yet? and where do those undersea cables come from?

29 02 2012
jssozi

Hi Joy, thanks for the kind comment. Well, it is still very troublesome. Internet is really slow. This is what happened -http://www.theverge.com/2012/2/27/2828110/east-africa-accident-internet-speeds-slowed

27 02 2012
Anneke de Bundel

I am glad to see that internet is working again so you could post your blog. It is strange to read since this hardly never happens in Holland. I wonder why?

29 02 2012
jssozi

Anneke, the internet is not working well yet. It is very, very slow! And yes, I am assuming that unlike Uganda which has only 3 fibre optic cables, Holland has more and also very well equipped with access to satellite and broadband.

29 02 2012
Kevin DiVico

we need satellite broadband to cover all of Africa and end these issues.

29 02 2012
jssozi

Yes Kevin! Satellite and Broadband would be much better alternatives in times like this. 😦

3 03 2012
Maureen Agena

Hahahahaha, I recieved that first message too. You are indeed a “Watch dog”. True troubled Citizen Journalist.

14 03 2012
Eve Mashoo

Ummhhhh, interesting point there about not waiting for customer care’s rescus coz its true they never help in most cases!

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