Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 18:01 UK

'Any slower and we will go backwards'

Is the internet your lifeline, or your nightmare? People across Africa have been sharing their stories with BBC News. Click here to send your own story.

, pilot
I had to evacuate a prominent person at short notice... I had to Google the guy
Paul Middleton, South Africa

I work as a mission pilot, flying out of South Africa, mainly into Mozambique.

The internet is used to get weather information for the flights, which is obviously very important.

Recently, I had to evacuate a prominent person from a neighbouring country at short notice.

I had to Google the guy the night before so that I might recognise him the following day at the pick-up point.

We have satellite internet. It goes fast into space and fast back down to Jo'burg... where it goes very slow to the rest of the world.

We're also not allowed to use Facebook or Skype because apparently the bandwidth can't handle it.

I fear that at times if things get any slower it will go backwards, and we will start uploading when we want to be downloading.

Here are some of your comments:

Samuel Sidea
Samuel Sidea says South African web users don't get value for money

I'm a Swedish citizen and I have been living in Durban, South Africa, for the last two years training as a commercial pilot. I must say the the people of South Africa get completely scammed when it comes to internet availability, delivery and prices. Telkom, and all the other broadband ISPs in South Africa, still use the cap system which enable them to set astronomic prices on the data traffic. For a 4 mbit (which you often wont even get up to 20% of that) ADSL connection with a cap of 2 GB per month you end up paying about £40. Even with conservative surfing you will end up having to buy at least one or two top-ups of 1 GB each, which will set you back about £8. Recently Telkom started their campaign for 'making 2010 happen', referring to the impending FIFA World Cup next year. If they would only spend that money on providing customers with just a slightly better service delivery instead. Just my 5 cents worth.
Samuel Sidea, Durban, South Africa

Rohan Mantri, Mauritius
Rohan in Mauritius says his 512k connection runs slower than dial-up

Internet is really slow here in Mauritius as well, with a "512k" connection that seems to be slower than a dial up connection. I've recently just graduated in Switzerland and returned to the country a few weeks ago - hence why I complain about internet speeds having experienced real broadband! Orange is the company that runs our internet here - previously known as Mauritius Telecom and they have the monopoly of controlling the internet here since they are the one that manages the bandwith through the marine optical cables that come from mainland Africa. I have a 512K Connection which should include a television package too, I had applied for the service 3 years ago. I was surprised that when I returned to the country a few weeks ago the internet my parents were using was not the speeds they paid for. There are other companies providing internet here but its of no use as they ultimately use the same bandwith that Orange gives them which means would be having either the same speed or would be slower.

Rohan Mantri, speed test
Rohan sent a picture showing the speed of his internet connection

I've attached a picture of an internet speed test to give you an idea of the speeds we get here. That's the worst I get, late at night the speed picks up for a while. You can see the time at which I did it as well. So to resume my story, we pay the company 512K for speeds so slow that you can hardly watch or load a video on Youtube. I have many friends with this problem.

Rohan Mantri, Quatre Bornes, Mauritius

What we call internet is just to read and write you are advise for the company already that the speed is fast but to check your mail and reply, if you dare try to do video streaming then you are up to the frustration, we do wait and allow even the smallest number of data to download overnight. We can wait and see broadband happening in this Generation X, still wobbling in the past in Sierra Leone.
Ali, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Is your internet so slow that you fear it may 'go backwards'? Send us your comments.

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