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To: Multiple recipients of list
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 03:29:19 -0400
>I highly recommend the evening entertainment at the outdoor buffet
>restaurant at the Sheraton in Kampala.
Jeff, missed your posting, just came back from Kampala. I was
up to see the Satelitte dish on the roof of Sheraton, no time for the
dancers. We were at a meeting of IGADD (Inter-Governmental Authority for
Drought and Development) composed of Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan,
Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia. Somalia was not represented. The meeting was about
strengthening (linking) libraries and documentation centers:-;
> I visited the offices of both Starcom
We had also a chance to see the Director of Starcom. I was
with a PT&T man from Ethiopia. The outcome of the meeting was good.
During discussions we gathered that the librelization in Uganda did not take
place without pains.
>technically Starcom isn't allowed to "compete" with the state telecom
The "do not compete" with state PT&T (incomplete librelization) is the major
pain. Starcom gets lines for setting up and managing pay phones from the
Uganda PT&T (UPTC) (except those at Entebee airport). The company should then
resell it with a competitive price. It was a difficult competition:-; after
adding UPTC charges + maintenace costs and profit. Someone also told us that
Starcom was denied some of the services it requested to offer and forced
to use a different smart card for pay phones. There are two smart cards
in Uganda. In general UPTC is one the most open PT&Ts in Africa.
Starcom (Starlight Communications) has also operations in Mogadishu.
>Starcom has signed an agreement to bring a free IP feed into Makerere.
According to the director of Starcom this will be a 9.6Kbps radio link.
Makarere and a university in Norway are both working on getting funds to
upgarde the 9.6 links to 64Kbps. Satrcom could not afford a 64Kbps line for
Here are some of the lessons in Uganda:
- the first company jumping to a liberalized telecommunications site in
Africa will get the biggest "headache" if complete interconnection and free
competition is not allowed.
- local Fido sysops will face "hard time" if they are not ready for full
TCP/IP and have not developed a unix capabilty. Charles seems to be "hit".
- telephony will reach rural areas once the PT&T opens up. (Starcom is
considering low cost 19.2 rural package that handles voice, e-mail). Such
access will not hurt UPTC (it will be set up with a UPTC flag). It is good for
local users; get access quickly instead of waiting for UPTC to put services
after five years. This also implies that the traditional PT&T conception
about librelization may not work. PT&Ts feel that if they "open up" there
is no one who looks after rural communication (equity).
- low cost technolgy is useful wherever available. In addition to having
Internet to the country the local connection (local loop) becomes more
critical. Since local loop is mostly unreliable and users need basic services
at a cheap price, store and forward technologies such as Fido and uucp
have to stay.
- setting up bandwidth intensive Internet tools may make links difficult for
connections less than or equal to 64Kbps.
Instead having Web pages on the "high pipe side some where in Europe" and
mirroring it for local users is the best option. (Starcom is considering
setting up Web pages on Uganda in Norway while some Ugandans feel that
their web page with the flag should emanate from Kampala!).