Is the internet your lifeline, or your nightmare? People across Africa have been sharing their stories with BBC News.
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COSMAS MUTWIWA, MOMBASA, KENYA
I operate a small internet cafe which I started about four months ago.
At first it was very difficult because the ISP which I subscribed to was still using satellite and the internet speeds where very slow.
Now it's getting better since the SEACOM went live about a month ago and the internet speeds have improved (almost doubled).
I think with time, when all three fibre optics companies are operational (SEACOM, EASSy and TEAMS), internet speeds will get much faster and cheaper as a result of competition.
But right now there is still some exploitation by ISPs, with a 512Kbps broadband which they claim they have doubled to 1Mbps since fibre optic.
I still can't watch a Youtube video without pausing for it to load!
Here are some of your comments:
I have an internet cafe in Kampala. My customers include students, businessmen, researchers, those who look for lovers, sports fanatics and news reporters. So these people use internet to make online payments, send and receive scanned copies of receipts, invoices, send news to broadcasters, make airline bookings, love stories, download free software beauty design styles, chatting and many more things. The very slow internet speed implies that I have to give a significant bonus time. In this regard, a computer which would yield me over US $ 5 a day, ends up yielding $1 or $2 US, making me big loss. I lose clients as they don't feel like coming back. During peak hours, the workshop is virtually empty as the speed slower then a snail. Internet subscription is also relatively costly making my profits almost zero or even deeping into my own pocket. With the coming of Optic fibre internet (Which is not yet there), I hope to have all those eradicated. Am optimistic my business is going to flourish with probably lower subscription costs.
Dennis Ssendagire, Kampala, Uganda
Genene says internet cafes in Ethiopia's capital are too slow
To connect in the city internet cafes in Addis Ababa is so difficult. We need a better infrastructure. It's so slow. I am lucky to work in NGO. I am working in Jhpiego, an affiliate of John Hopkins University, which works on HIV and Maternal care, as Finance Officer. The broadband connection in my office changes my life a lot. I can browse different sites and easily access mails. I can even voice chat.
Genene Tesfaye, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The prices for conventional web are high from the equipment, the service and even the cybercafes. All this is pushing me and numerous other young adults into mobile internet. At least this service is economical but the downside is you cannot access many other applications via mobile phones. The way I see it, even with all these fibre optic developments, internet will still be expensive because the way they run these ISPs and other tech companies is more or less a cartel. And for the students, academics, smaller organisations and individuals, internet connectivity is and will still be out of reach.
Vic Katopola, Mulanje, Malawi
Charlie says broadband in Casablanca is fast and reliable
As I imagine is true in many other African countries, Morocco is filled with cybercafes. Even the most disadvantaged young people seem to have picked up basic computer and Internet skills. Once my wife was talking on Skype with our son in the US, and our part-time housekeeper, an older lady from the countryside with very little formal education, commented, "Oh, I do that with my son in Italy, but I can see him on the computer when we talk." She must have wondered why we hadn't upgraded to a video-capable system like the one at her neighbourhood cybercafe. I've had ADSL in Casablanca through Maroc Telecom for about eight years. It's fairly expensive by European or North American standards: the 20 Mbps option costs about $135/month. But the system is reliable and the speed is quite good. Page refresh still lags, but data transfer for file transfers is generally up to speed. We frequently rent movies (legally) through U.S.-based movie download services. The download is perfectly adequate to grab a movie in the afternoon and watch it that evening. My daughter has used the internet for online high-school courses and my son taught himself to play guitar. When people ask my daughter where she's from, she sometimes replies, "Facebook".
Charlie Law, Casablanca, Morocco
What are the internet cafes like where you live? Are you happy with the connection speed and the value for money? Send us your comments.
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