Last year I was all excited about the possibilities of Seacom going live. If you’ve been living under a rock and have no idea about Seacom, it’s basically an undersea cable that will link South Africa with India and the rest of the world (with a few pitstops) to improve our broadband access.
Today I’m not that excited. Unfortunately I don’t see the end-user benefiting. This is because big corporations will always maximise profits. It’s in their nature. Remember the fuss we all made at the launch of Neotel? We were all promised dramatically decreased callrates and faster/cheaper internet. The end product is marginally cheaper than Telkom and the technology is so buggy that the people I do know who have tried it ended up back with Telkom within a month.
Seacom promises us high-band access to the world. I don’t think South African fully grasp the concept of broadband (it’s NOT 384kbps!). Imagine downloading a full 700MB movie in less than 5 minutes. That takes about a weekend here in SA. Imagine working with business people in another city at the speed of thought. Our Internet is so slow we may as well be using smoke signals.
Virgin Media in the UK (previously NTL) is currently experimenting with 1GB Internet Connections. And we’re excited about 4MB? Of course it’s UPTO 4MB. I have one of those lines and I’m darn lucky if I ever hit 2MB (at 3am in the morning when no one else is awake).
So, back to Seacom. Will I be able to get a 20MB line for R200/month uncapped? I hardly think so. Of course the British have had that technology since the late 20th century.
I know I sound cynical, but I’ll just take a wait-and-see approach.