This post is by Sanjay Patel, he’s currently working on getting internet connectivity at our partner school in Tanzania.
Today is OneWebDay, a movement of organizations, citizens and consumers who are committed to universal and equal access to the Internet. This year’s theme, “One Web. For All.” is an opportunity to focus on economic and educational inclusion.
Since we just happen to be working on internet connectivity options in Tanzania right now for our partner primary school in Tanzania, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share how vast the Digital Divide remains.
In the table below, I’ve added what it costs me on a montly basis to get cable speed internet here in the United States along with 3 different quotes we’ve received for installing internet connectivity to a school that is a stone’s throw away from one of Tanzania’s largest cities:
||Download / Upload Speed
||GDP Per Capita4||% of Avg Income for Connectivity5
|United States – Bright House Networks
||6873 kbps /
|Tanzania – Arusha Node Marie1
||32 kbps /
|Tanzania – LiNK iDirect2
||512 kbps /
|Tanzania – CIWI3
||256 kbps /
1. Arusha Node Marie provides expected download/upload speeds during peak hours. Speeds may increase substantially during off-peak hours.
2. LiNK iDirect provides maximum shared capacity figures for download and upload speeds but expected speeds may be significantly lower.
3. CIWI also provides maximum shared capacity figures for download and upload speeds but expected speeds may be significantly lower.
4. 2008 estimates according to the CIA World Factbook. (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html)
5. This percentage excludes initial set-up costs. In all cases, the set-up costs are more than the annual average income.
Yes, you’re reading that correctly, 32 kbps for $60 USD (~78,090 TZS) per month. That’s less than 1% of the download speed I have as I sit now in my living room.
Admittedly, connectivity and access are changing quickly, and mobile phones are providing interesting options. The infrastructure is improving too – just 2 months ago, SEACOM, an undersea fiber optic cable went live in East Africa and industry experts expect a significant reduction in the cost of bandwidth in the range of 60 percent. That said, even in our own country, many people have limited or no access to the web.
For more about the challenges of connectivity in Arusha, check out this blog post about the difficulty of access during our recent IdeaBlob competition, which included web voting from internet cafes in Tanzania.
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