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

'I can now work from the beach'

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.

ANINA VON WACHTEL, DIANI BEACH, KENYA
Anina von Wachtel
We've gone from a dirt road to a high-speed express train

Anina von Wachtel, Kenya

As a freelance web consultant I work with the internet every day. Without it I wouldn't be able to live here.

Since I moved to Kenya four years ago I can't help but notice the positive change in access and connectivity.

Now I can even work from the beach, if I choose to.

But that was not always the case.

When I moved here I started on a dial-up modem and it drove me, to say the least, crazy.

Downloading emails was sometimes a 'mission impossible', let alone browsing the web with more than one window open. But times really have changed.

As I sit here now, I am connected to the internet via my 3G USB modem.

I get up in the morning, power up the computer and connect. Straight away. Emails are in my inbox in seconds.

Conference calls

I check on news, projects, and social media - all at the same time. To me, this is an internet revolution.

The arrival of 3G has completely changed the way I use the web here.

As my clients are based overseas it is vital to stay connected and regular web conference calls make this possible.

I use Skype all the time, and recently even have started video calling.

Downtime now is a choice - not something that happens because the provider can't handle traffic.

It feels like we've gone from a dirt road to a high-speed express train - one with extremely convenient and low-cost seats.

In internet terms Kenya is where the UK was, say, eight years ago. But if trends continue we should catch up sooner rather than later.

I believe that within the next few years, computer and internet usage will skyrocket. With the arrival of the two fibre optic cables, TEAMS and SEACOM, and with a third one on the way, companies and individuals will profit from increased and improved connectivity.

My client base is in Europe but with internet experiencing such growth here I might look to work on locally involved projects, too.



Read some of your comments:

Samwel, Nairobi, Kenya
Samwel in Nairobi says Kenya is an internet leader in Africa

I have lived and worked in 3 African countries namely Kenya, Zambia and DRC. Of the 3, Kenya has by far the most advanced internet connectivity especially now after the landing of the undersea fiber optic cable. One mobile network offers fast and reliable 3G internet through their network by turning major cities and towns into hotspots....you can sit at a public park, your house or even in traffic (like I am!) and enjoy reliable access to the world. Through the internet, I am able to keep up to date with the developments in the world of business wherever I am.
Samwel, Nairobi, Kenya

Moses Muthui
Moses says Nairobi has not seen any benefit from the new sea cable

The undersea fibre optic cable arrived here in Kenya in July and everyone including the President assured us our lives would change, but guess what, here in Nairobi its worse than it was before. We still continue 'enjoying' speeds as slow as 200Kbps and there was no reduction in price as we were lied to would happen. For instance Access Kenya the pioneer in utilising the cable used to charge 12000 KES for installing and 4000 KES per month back then and the price hasn't changed now they are just saying they will soon 'increase bandwidth for corporate customers'. Ironic! I think these projects are just benefits for corporates and a facade for users.
Moses Muthui, Nairobi, Kenya

I've noticed a huge difference in speeds since the SEACOM cable came online in July. I use Kenya Data Networks' 1MB Butterfly Service. As a web and print designer working from home, this has greatly reduced my costs. For one, KDN have reduced prices by 30% whilst doubling the bandwidth. It has also enabled me to simply email designs to clients within seconds. It has been a long wait but the benefits are immense. I only hope that more and more ISPs will reduce prices. It seems that at the moment the majority of them are trying a low user/high price model. They should adopt a high user/low price strategy for the country to benefit. Hopefully competition will force them to reduce prices.
Tito Kibiego, Nairobi, Kenya

Sahani, Lusaka, Zimbabwe
Sahani in Zambia says 3G mobile is his best hope for connectivity

Hopefully, the coming of 3G mobile here in Zambia and the first company to be connected to the fibre on the coast will improve speeds. Internet speeds here are very costly. Even when you do get broadband access and pay for a pipe of say 256kbps, because it's shared, you're lucky to get 64k. I believe internet access will still remain a problem for most people because if you don't have access at work, then you can probably only afford to check internet mail once a week at an internet cafe. The cost of setting up and having broadband access (with the non broadband speed) at home is still prohibitive. The introduction of GPRS/EDGE technology has helped because of the increasing number of people with internet capable phones. If more organisations could invest in mobi sites, this would really help as data charges when you access these sites is relatively cheap. As an example as to how much easier it's become to access the internet/email because of gprs/edge, I've just sent you this email using my BIS enabled Blackberry Curve.

Sahani, Lusaka, Zambia


Have you joined the 3G 'revolution'? Has your experience been as positive as Anina's? Send us your comments.

Name
Your E-mail address
Town & Country
Phone number (optional):
Comments

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.




Print Sponsor



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific