Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 18:02 UK

'The undersea cables will not help us'

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Margaret Kinnaird
Faster broadband would help us join the modern world
Dr Margaret Kinnaird, Kenya

The Mpala Research Centre pays $27,000 a year for very slow and unreliable internet.

We would be thrilled if the new fibre optic submarine cable reached somewhere outside of the major cities.

But our speed has not, and probably will not, be affected.

The SEACOM cables are not bringing prices down as we had hoped.

Mpala Research Centre caters to over 150 scientists a year plus another 100 or so undergraduates.

All of us need to access the web for scientific literature and to communicate with colleagues, students and their universities.

At any given time, there might be 20 researchers and 6 staff and a handful of research assistants on computers all needing to access the internet.

Our internet comes via satellite. The server is based in Germany and frequently succumbs to bad weather.

'No Facebook'

How would fast broadband help us? It would allow us to Skype, blog, wire funds with greater ease and download large datasets often needed for collaborative research.

Map of Nanyuki, Kenya
With our current connections, we are extremely limited in use of Skype (no video and audio) - an increasingly important form of communication for professors and students when away from university.

We must absolutely discourage use of Facebook and other social networks.

Many of our researchers use blogging as a form of fund raising but we request limited use of this as well.

Faster broadband would help us join the modern world!

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