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Access

2019

According to a report by The New Times, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has called on African governments to ensure increase access to Internet connectivity for its citizens through close partnership with industry. Mr. Kagame said close collaboration with industry will ensure that the required investments are made so citizens can benefit from the digital economy. Speaking at the 5th Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, which was also attended by the Presidents of Kenya and Mali, Mr. Kagame also called for investments in digital skills to ensure citizens acquire new skills that will help secure and create jobs.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA)in a press release have shared the outcome report of a recent survey which paints a positive effect for seafarers who have access to the Internet. According to the report, apart from the widespread adoption of Internet access for personal use by seafarers on board ships, it it is proven from the survey that the benefits associated with the access significantly outweighs the safety concerns people feared about the technology.

Even though the responses showed that the two main reasons why companies fail to provide Internet access on board vessels was due to costs (68%) and the impact on rest or sleep (60%), the benefits observed from the survey such as the improved mental health and well-being of seafarers (according to 60% of respondents) and the morale of seafarers in the company (according to 69% of respondents)makes the access to internet worthwhile.

Huawei plans to invest US$100 million to develop a cloud storage infrastructure in Chile over the next three to five years. This investment follows the completion of the optical fibre cable connecting Los Angeles to Valparaiso Chile by Google. Huawei will strengthen Chile’s infrastructure to support the recently announced Huawei Cloud that would service Chile and surrounding countries. Huawei also intends to connect the capital Santiago with outlying cities and to install another optical fiber cable that connects Chile to China.

According to a report, a new broadband bill dubbed the ACCESS Broadband Act has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives with the aim of ensuring a better coordination of federal efforts to expand broadband access to underserved areas. The bill which was sponsored by Rep. Paul Tonko through a bipartisan approach would establish the Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The new office will track how government supports the build-out of high speed internet connectivity programmes, conduct research and hold regional workshops to share strategies for promoting broadband. 

Following the attacks that killed more than 200 people during Easter day (21 April), the government of Sri Lanka has cut down access to social media, messaging services, and even virtual private networks (VPNs) in order to prevent the spread of misinformation and further violence online. The measures are still in place (26 April).

The Kanawa subsea cable which links the French Guiana with Martinique and Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean was launched by Orange in January 2019. The two pair fibre system is 1,746km in length and has been upgraded to provide up to 10 terabyte per second to users. This increased high-speed connectivity is expected to meet the rapid growth and demand for digital services in the Caribbean region.

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