Every so often I get an ever-so-slightly abrupt email from an editor, asking me to call them as they can’t get through by phone. Usually they have made one attempt, failed to reach me and then given up.
Other times they put the phone down on me just as I am saying hello. With a lengthy delay on international calls, it can seem like the caller has disappeared into the aether.
And last week a radio interview I was doing was abandoned after about 30sec when the line went down on air.
So I for one will be desperately excited when Kenya is connected to the rest of the world by fibre-optic cable. With luck, the first of several undersea lines – the Teams will be complete early in 2009.
I’m hoping it will become easier to make international calls and that my internet connection will speed up, once Kenya is no longer reliant on congested and costly satellite links.
But the real reason for the government ploughing millions of dollars into the undersea cable is to help the country’s call centre industry compete with the like of India. There’s still a long way to go – wages here, for example, will always be higher than India – but there are plenty of example of companies such as Preciss, Kencall and Skyweb-Evans that are all set to ramp up their operations once they have cheaper and more reliable communications. My story is here