Monday, February 28, 2005

SKYPE: The Programme That Will Eat the Lunch Of African Telcos

I take a lot of thing for granted, cheap LD and Broadband internet service for starters - stories such as this one, about how the incumbent telco's in Africa (Telekom Kenya- in particular) are reacting to VoIP services encroaching on, what I can only describe as extortion like rates for international communication, really "boil the blood" so to speak. 1 dollar US a minute??? for international LD.. you have to be kidding me.

I don't profess to be an expert in African politics, but to me it seems pretty clear that this is an example of a network of government run telco's controlling media and communication only allowing the rich to get richer and ensuring their continued prosperity. It is a good way to keep yourself in the corrupt power you have become accustomed to. Heaven forbid actually encouraging people to organize and freely speak, you might actually drag your country into shared prosperity. Once again, these luddite telco's should be concentrating on providing ubiquitous broadband, not screwing people on voice costs.

In the lack of real competition, the enduser gets screwed, it happens everytime. Skype or (VoIP in general) levels the playing field, communication is a fundamental part of the matrix needed to change thinking, and VoIP services provide an excellent platform to speed development, aid and education.

I would hope, and now thinking I will look into it, that my government would be quite vocal about this type of corruption in developing third world countries that we provide aid to. Encouraging open and free communication, you would think, would make it a lot easier to bring a society into its own.

EDIT** - April 26th. Looks like Uganda is actually blocking Skype, adding to the UAE - this is hopefully a trend that can be stopped somehow. Perhaps a randomly changing proxy etc.

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