High speed internet "culture shock" for Mogadishu


Residents on the Somalian capital Mogadishu have been experiencing a form of “culture shock” since fibre optic services launched over the last week, an Internet provider has told the BBC.

The implementation of high speed internet in the country comes after 3G mobile phone services were cut off due to a threat from Islamist militants.

Until now access to the Internet has been via dial-up or satellite links. This new project from Somalia Wireless to launch fibre optic cable services has taken place in the capital.

Speaking to the BBC Somalia Wireless’s Liban Egal said: “Any video or site just pops up… they’re very excited about the speed.”

Egal said the difference in speed was like the difference between “day and night”.

People have been flocking to hotels and Internet cafes to try out the fast service – some seeing video platforms like YouTube and social networking sites for the first time.

It was “almost a culture shock” for those who have never left Somalia, he added.

He said the move would be a huge boost for the country, which is recovering from more than two decades of civil war.

“Every time a fiber optic cable is connected to a country they see their GDP [gross domestic product] going up because their communication costs go down,” Egal added. “All life will be affected – businesses, the government, universities – they all will see the benefits.”

Social media surge

"Across Africa the sudden arrival of fast internet feels very different from the experience in Europe and North America where speeds gradually increased over time", explains Danny Meadows-Klue, head of the Digital Strategy Consulting group who have been developing digital marketing
comms approaches in Africa for 15 years. "The turning on of superfast broadband, unlocks an immediate access to the same knowledge and tools that you and I have. The previous generation of slow speed connections meant that the African internet was 'different' with only a small fraction of the content accessible at a sensible speed."

In terms of likely trends and implications, Meadows-Klue sees several immediate behaviours developing. "Look out for massive increases in the number of social media accounts with web access, and then continued use through featurephone clients. With a high number of people sharing a
computer, advertising targeting will be weaker in the short term because cookie based IDs will be corrupted by multiple accounts. Culturally the access to liberal western content will create a significant cultural debate, in the way that satellite television arriving to rural communities did more than twenty years ago."

Source: BBC


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