Fascinating debate -- I can't recall it ever having been aired so
Don Richardson writes:
> In one example I know of, it costs the donor agency about $12,000 US
> per month (not including extortionate set-up fees) to keep ONE of
> its regional field offices serviced with email and web access via a
> dedicated leased-line network.
Yes, and if we're thinking of the same agency, they've also
apparently been discussing how much more this is costing than
expected. (If we're not thinking of the same agency, then there must
be at least TWO of them... 8*)
But I think $12,000 can buy more than email and web access. It
buys, for example, a telephone link. Someone at a large organization
in Africa can pick up the phone and be connected to a headquarters in
Europe, for example, dialing as if actually sitting in Europe, saving
on what are often outrageously high charges from Africa.
Reference: see the article in the Jan/Feb Africa Communications on
Call Back services, 3-min. call Nairobi-NY $9, NY-Nairobi-$4.
So, while paying $12,000 for their leased line, they completely
reduce minute charges on calls to one city in Europe, substantially
reduce them on calls elsewhere in Europe and North America, AND have
full Internet access, AND have an independent and presumably more
securable channel for admin or other communications needs.
Think this is fiction? Visit
See the last table.
> Meanwhile, the ISP and telecom environment in the host country is
> more than capable of providing the same level of service, with good
> security, at about 1/5 that cost.
When you factor in ALL the services that $12,000 can buy, is it
still 1/5th? And not to forget that sometimes these dedicated lines
are *through* the national telecoms, just not through local ISPs.
Think about the costs of international direct dialing for a major
organization with a staff of 200 or so.
I personally suspect it would still make sense to radically redesign
systems, base security on encryption, and channel through local
services. But the cost savings would not be as great as the
difference between $12000 a month and $50 a month, or even $12000 a
month and $2400 a month. Somewhat less, I should think. And with a
significant cost for restructuring and retraining that would have to
be factored in.
Jeff @ Washington
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