I have been a passive observer of this news group for the past few
months. As I obsereved from some of the news I have read from this news
group most African IT professionals are concerned with "connectivity?".
But what is "connectivity"? Is it just hooking upto the Internet? Or
is it more than that? Most people use the term "connectivity" to imply
access to the Internet. But there is an other side of "connectivity"
that needs our attention. I would refer to this as "interconnecting" or
"internetworking" -- I mean internetworking Africa. In my view building a
well interconnected national and continental information infrastructure
is much more important than just hooking upto the Internet. Hooking upto
the Internet will be much cheaper and easier if we build modest national
and continental information infrastructure.
There are two major advantages that we can get if we build national and
continental information infrastructure:
1. The main advantage is "desired information flow". We will have better
information flow with in each nation and accross the continent -- which
is what Africa needs badly to improve the living standard of its people.
2. "Economy of scale" in hooking upto the internet. In communication
networks you will get a much cheaper and efficient service by sharing one
resource of larger capacity among all users than dedicating a resource
of smaller capacity to a group of few users. What this means is that we
can get access to the Internet at a very low cost if we build our local
An important implication of "economy of scale" is that whenever possible
aggregate resources to few pools.
In my view a nation's level of Information Technology should not be
assessed by the number and capacity of links to the Internet but instead by
the size of the locale interconnected network.
University of Pittsburgh