The much anticipated SEACOM cable was switched on yesterday. Backhauls linking Johannesburg, Nairobi and Kampala with the coastal landing stations have been established. SEACOM is also working with its national partners to commission the final links to Kigali and Addis Ababa shortly.
While the reaction on the web has generally been very good, some bloggers have raised a few concerns. The most interesting one is Kachwanya, who says Seacom is here but don’t be surprised if nothing changes. The first part of his post is mainly about the Internet pricing and frequency hoarding problems in Kenya. In the second part, which caught my attention, he says he asked Seacom to reveal the ISPs which have bought bandwidth from them. To which, the folks at Seacom responded by saying that revealing the names of their clients (ISPs) will jeopardize their relationship with others which are not yet on board. The actual twitter exchange between the two is as follows:
Just like Kachwanya, I wonder how the end-users will benefit from SEACOM if they do not know the ISPs which are offering SEACOM’s high bandwidth. Secondly, the reason put forward by SEACOM does not make sense to me. If SEACOM really champions open accessibility, why are they not disclosing the ISPs that have bought bandwidth from them? End users deserve open access to this kind of information. SEACOM should not care about ISPs that are not yet their clients. Some folks, who have become suspicious of SEACOM, are now saying that perhaps only a handful ISPs have bought bandwidth from them such that they are scared of being embarrased should they reveal their names. Having spent a lot of money on the cable, SEACOM is possibly thinking that the number of ISPs that will buy bandwidth from them will increase with time. Maybe, they are planning to announce their names when the number goes beyond a certain threshold.
To which, Seacomlive responded by saying
So where are the ISPs that have bought SEACOM bandwidth hiding?