But with the imminent availability of the 1.28 terabits per second Teams connectivity, business figures, ISPs and the Kenyan government now insist that high-speed, low-cost internet is just around the corner.
Links are being completed to other East African nations, "digital villages" are being built in rural areas, and the speeds on offer are increasing, albeit slowly.
"The cable is here, it is functional, and they are selling capacity," Bitange Ndemo told the BBC.
However, some in Nairobi feel that the cables themselves were over-hyped.
"I thought the cable would land and the next week we would have fast internet at home," said Ken Kasima, a developer for the successful crowdsourcing service Ushahidi.
Speaking at a cafe in the basement of a Nairobi shopping centre where fellow developers and programmers meet to use a free wi-fi connection, Mr Kasima said the price of his 512kbps internet connection was preventing him working effectively at home.
Rory Cellan-Jones visits St Charles Lwanga Secondary in Mombasa which cannot afford a web connection.
His connection, like much of Kenya's personal internet in a country without a significant landline telephone network, is delivered by a mobile phone operator via a 3G dongle connected by USB. A top-up card gives him 1GB of data use for a fee of 2,500 Kenyan shillings (£20; $33).
At that price, Mr Kasima insists he needs to carefully control what he does online in an effort not to waste his credit and his money. Even if the connection allowed it - which it barely does - listening to music or watching video online is not sensible.
"When you take it in comparison to what you're doing, it's a lot (of money), trust me. It's like spending a million to buy a wheelbarrow," Mr Kasima said.
Perhaps surprisingly, the managing director of one of Kenya's most prominent ISPs agrees with part of Mr Kasima's analysis.
Jonathan Somen of Access Kenya told the BBC that some in the communications industry were guilty of making unwise pronouncements before the cables landed.
Kenyans talk about their hopes for high speed broadband
But Mr Somen - whose company is a shareholder in Teams - freely admitted that his products were aimed at business users and "high-end" residential customers, pointing out that Kenya needs major and costly investment to build a modern telecoms infrastructure.
"A lot of companies, ourselves included, have made significant investments in international and local infrastructure to deliver the new bandwidth," Mr Somen said.
"The more people get connected the more the economies of scale will kick in and prices will come down, but you can't expect fibre to land and that's the answer to all of our prayers.
"You have got to go through the stages to build up the infrastructure and the content."
His attitude is at odds with the approach of Bitange Ndemo, who called for those companies with investments to pay off to lower their prices to attract new customers.
"In Africa the argument is always that there are fewer customers so there is a need to charge a high premium," he said.
"That is what annoys me, because you need to have low prices to get more people."
On the outskirts of Nairobi, though, one place where prices have fallen is KenCall, an outsourcing company which says data costs have shrunk by 90% since Seacom went online.
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