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Reasonably Priced Internet Solutions PDF Print E-mail

Quality-for-price internet solutions are still high on agenda for members on the I-network list. In the months of Jan to march 2009, the issue of internet prices and quality of services has come up a number of times. Tim Mwandha, a member of the list said “This matter of price and quality irks my mind. Where can one find a single list, a price comparison for bandwidth, via different channels for all telecom operators in Uganda?” Most members agreed that it is quite difficult to say which Internet service provider is consistently providing a good service, the service varies quite a lot.

Wire Lunghabo who provides advice to a number of people on internet solutions had this to say "Tim ,
My honest opinion is that Internet service providers in Uganda are like the Ugandan Weather. You
wake up to a cool/cold morning, put on a jumper as thick as that of an eskimo and by 10 am it is
shining and temperatures are rivalling those of the Sahara Desert. You then abandon your jumper in
the office and chose to move around town without it. Then at 1 pm, it starts raining cats and dogs and
you find your self as wet as a village chicken by 3 pm, the sun is back shining like it never rained
before. It goes on and on and on. We are some how used to it "n'est ce pas" (not so)?

So, the same is true with the ISPs. While one may have a good service today, you can’t be sure of the
same QoS (Quality of Service) the following day or week or month. This is my observed trend in the
13 years that I have been in this industry in Uganda."

During a focus group meeting held during February on Internet service provision in Uganda, it was
found that a few individuals who need to have reliable internet end up with two or more solutions, this
ensures they have internet whenever they need it. This finding was echoed again at the I-Network
seminar held on Friday 20th March where one member said he has more than solution at the office to
allow him (stocks trader) be able to have an internet connection throughout the day.

Quality of Service is not the only bone of contention when it comes to internet service provision in
Uganda, another discussion during the last 3 months focused on the lack of access to simple
information from service providers e.g. SMTP server information.

Despite the apparent lack of quality for price for internet solutions, I-Network members are optimistic
about the future of internet prices and services in Uganda. In March, SEACOM, announced that their
undersea internet cable had reached Dar es salaam and should be at Mombasa in June. At a
breakfast meeting, the Brian Herlihy, SEACOM’s Chief Executive Officer said that with the connection
of the East African region to the cable, the region’s shall have access to 1280 GB as opposed to the
current 3GB that the whole region is using via satellite. In addition to that the costs would come down
to USD 100-300 per MB from the current USD 5000 per MB when using satellite.

With such progress, internet users hope to be able to see changes in both the quality of service
especially in terms of reliability and the price of internet services in Uganda very soon.

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