Internet News - In Brief

Internet

- Telkom South Africa has reported a loss of connectivity across the SAT3 cable system. The SAT3 cable is one of the primary ways that South Africa data connects to the rest of the world, there is still SAT2 and Seacom amongst other methods like satellite uplinks that South Africa uses to connect. The SAT-3 cable is degraded due to a suspected power problem between Abidjan and Lagos in Nigeria. It's the second time in a week that the outage has been reported, and in September last year (2009), a huge outage led to bankers warning that services such as trade could lead to losses amounting to tens of millions of US dollars.

- Internet prices are set for regulation in two months time if providers do not reduce their costs, the Communication Commission of Kenya has said. Dr Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary ministry of Information and Communications, said it is suspicious that Internet costs remain high despite changes in the last few months. "We are investigating whether there is collusion among operators to fix prices," Dr Ndemo said.

- In a move aimed at providing redundancy for the international Internet traffic that comes through the undersea cable, TEAMs, the Kenyan government is in talks with the Ethiopian government to link the two countries using terrestrial fibre optic through the Moyale border. The Kenyan government has laid a terrestrial fibre optic cable (part of the National Fibre Optic Backhaul) from Thika to Moyale and says the Ethiopia government is working on a similar link from their end.

- Zimbabwean data services and internet access provider Broadlands Networks has announced plans to launch commercial voice, data and value added services in three cities by the end of next month over a broadband wireless access network based on ‘4G’ technology. The South African-backed operator says it has already pumped USD30 million into its launch plans and intends to spend a total of USD100 million rolling out triple-play services including VoIP telephony and residential TV subscriptions via set-top boxes.

- The Main One Cable Company has announced the commencement of the final laying of its high capacity fibre optic cable from Seixal, Portugal through the coast of West Africa to Ghana and Nigeria. “Now that the 7,000 kilometre trunk of the cable is being installed, we are pleased that our efforts over the last 18 months are coming to fruition,” said Funke Opeke, Main One CEO.

- Under the banner of the “Africa for Haiti” (http://www.africaforhaiti.com/ ) campaign a number of prominent African civil society organisations are combining their efforts in mobilising support for Haiti. The aim is to raise US$20 million in the next six months in support of specific reconstruction initiatives which will be identified in partnership with Haitian civil society organisations.

- The EU FP7 project, ERINA4Africa, which is mapping Africa’s research e-Infrastructure potential for boosting research and innovation, has launched its website, www.erina4africa.eu. The website will be used to disseminate project activities, data collection and hosting the virtual observatory. The aim of ERINA4Africa is to foster knowledge-sharing between e-Infrastructures stakeholders in Africa and the EU in the key ICT areas of e-Health, e-Government, and e-Learning.

- January 28, 2010 has marked the beginning of another phase for KENET, the Kenya NREN, as they launched their first STM-1 link between its Nairobi PoP and the UbuntuNet Router in London through the SEACOM cable. This means that KENET is the second NREN to connect to the UbuntuNet Router in London using fibre after TENET connected about 2 years ago.

- Rascomstar-Qaf will boost its pan-African connectivity by launching a new satellite in May, two years after launching the Rascomstar-QAF1 that is expected to stop working by the end of this year.

- Telkom’s WiMax customers can expect a voice-over-broadband service soon. Telkom was the first company in South Africa to launch a commercial WiMax service in June 2007. This service was however never planned as a standalone product, but is rather used as an ‘ADSL substitute’ in areas where users cannot get ADSL services.