Roaming from Dakar and the Novotel, connecting at 14,400 bps via SITA
to my service provider in Utah at 22 USA cents a minute, with a
throughput of about 50 messages in 10 minutes. Five messages or
perhaps 5kb per minute on average, which translates to about .66kbps,
and about 4.4 cents a message.
Roaming accounts are a bit difficult to use, requiring some skill in
configuring Win95 dialup networking, connecting modems to different
types of telephone equipment, adding codes to wait for a second dial
tone (or not to wait for a dial tone at all in South Africa), and
typing in four lines of codes to log in. www.Valley-Infi.Net offers
an automated bit of software -- perhaps that will help.
The reward is being able to stay in touch and conduct business from
the home office while on the road. For small ISPs in Africa that
thought they might attract international business by offering kiosks
or cafes with temporary accounts, Internet Roaming offers serious
competition. It also means that visitors to Africa need not
establish accounts in Africa.
I know there are people in Southern Africa who have purchased
accounts in the USA in order to have access in Africa. It seems to
me that ISPs in Africa should consider offering roaming accounts to
their customers, or risk losing business to ISPs elsewhere. An ISP
in Africa, in a country without full Internet links via a local
server, could even team up with a service provider elsewhere for
billing purposes, offering Internet services locally via SITA.
My assumption is that SITA will be permitted to continue to offer
such services in Africa.
Jeff @ Dakar
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1111 North 19th Street Suite 210
Arlington, VA 22209 USA
Tel 1-703-235-5415 Fax 1-703-235-3805