Web access in Africa
This means both
- web access for participants and instructors during the course – and
- web access for participants in their normal environment at work, before and after training
I am happy to see that country reports in Wikitravel often include such information.
Mobile phone network coverage is available in most parts of the country (over 70%), but geography can make trouble in the mountainous regions. SIM cards are cheaply available everywhere in ‘starter packs’.
Internet cafes can be readily found in Kampala and Jinja. In all towns with more than about 20,000 you’ll find internet cafes running off of either VSATs or mobile phones. The Internet connection bandwidth is very low and can be frustrating for one who is used to a high speed internet connection.
Internet cafés are more and more common throughout Tanzania. They are easy to find in major urban areas, like Dar es Salaam and Arusha.
International telecommunications have low capacity, and can be unreliable
Some mobile providers have started offering wireless internet service. Zantel, Vodacom, and Zain are the main providers. All urban areas and many rural areas that have mobile phone coverage also have mobile internet coverage. Wireless 3G coverage is available in many areas of Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Zanzibar town.
To use this service you can use your phone’s mobile browser. To use it with a computer, you must first purchase a CDMA PC Card or USB mobile receiver which plugs into your computer. This will set you back about 200,000 Tsh. If you have an unlocked CDMA phone with a modem cable, that will also work.
Airtime is obtained using scratch cards just like mobile phones.
- Connection rates are about 60 Tsh for 1 Mb or US$0.05 per MB.
- So 1 GB of download and upload will set you back US$50. Not cheap.
The report on Kenya did not include such information – instead I quote a news item (October 1, 2010) from allAfrica.com:
- Orange mobile customers from Friday began to access the internet for Sh1 per MB, the most competitive rates in the market currently.
- The new charges on the Internet Everywhere Service will see prepaid mobile customers get 50MB of data every week at Sh50.
- Wikitravel: Tanzania
- Wikitravel: Uganda
- VSAT: Short for very small aperture terminal, an earthbound station used in satellite communications of data, voice and video signals, excluding broadcast television. More
- 1000 Tsh = 0.67 USD. Calculator
- Burundi: Handheld Computers Speed Up Food Aid. Zack Baddorf. 6 October 2010.
LATINA in Africa
- Physical conditions. Education must adapt to technology and infrastructure
- Web access in Kampala. A personal report
… the answers to food assessments are now recorded directly on handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs), which are only a little larger than a cell phone. Since being introduced in March, they have held up against the strong Burundian heat and last for days before needing to be recharged ….
- Each PDA costs about $200,
- With two devices for each of the country’s 15 provinces, the total cost is about $6,000, excluding staff training costs.
- “WFP needs to be in the areas that are most at risk and that’s the bottom line. So anything that can help improve that process, reduce the time to get there, improve the data, [and] improve the validity of the data, is to me definitely worth the investment,”
- Since WFP staff began using handheld computers, more accurate data is collected, and faster, because there is less preparation time and no paper trail from which data needs to be inserted into a computer system later on.
- “It used to take us about an hour and a half [per interview, including preparation and data processing], but now it takes only half an hour,”
Burundi: Handheld Computers Speed Up Food Aid. Zack Baddorf. 6 October 2010.