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

'The web lets us try before we buy'

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.

PHIL SCHMAMAN, WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA
Phil, Windhoek, Namibia
The web makes it easy to show a customer what equipment we are talking about
Phil Schmaman, Namibia

I am the manager of a music shop. We deal in live music instruments, PA and recording systems. We also have a recording studio.

Our biggest use of internet is for information gathering of equipment for customers.

We can't afford to stock everything here as the market is relatively small. The population of the whole country is only around 2 million. So we have to import everything.

Before purchasing, it is important for us to know that we are getting the correct item for the job.

The web makes it very easy to show a customer what equipment we are talking about.

'Very jealous'

With respect to actually using the web, we are very jealous here of what is available in places like Europe.

I read about people not interested in using a site where the page takes more than four seconds to open. If they were here there would be no point in opening your browser.

The problem isn't the lack of technology but rather the lack of users. Because of a smaller population costs are much higher and that is something that can't really change.

I currently pay the equivalent of £27 a month for a 256k ADSL line. A 1Meg line will cost around £85 a month. Keep in mind that salaries are probably around a quarter of the UK.

And I'm told that when the new fibre optic cable is connected on the west coast of Namibia next year, we can expect an increase in bandwidth for the same price, not a reduction in price.



Here are some of your comments:

I live in Windhoek and we use broadband routing through South Africa and proven fact that data transmitted through South Africa is a HUGE pain with latencies up to 15000ms and data bundles being lost. We can't compete to outside world. Indeed the pigeon is faster than the internet. I am an registered accountant in Windhoek Namibia and work for a consulting engineering firm. Internet is an integral part of business for example electronic banking, but get disconnected so many times and timed out sessions its sometimes just impossible to do anything. Apart from that am I studying online and need to get a lot of info from the net, which is hard to do since a lot of time you cannot even open a web page. During the Confederations Cup in South Africa, I think was in June, internet was almost non-existent for the periods when games were played. You could hardly do anything. The minute games are over then it starts to improve. This all made me wonder how the 2010 world cup will influence the economy and businesses.
Brune Janse van Rensburg, Windhoek, Namibia


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