Efforts continue on St Helena broadband

Workmen on a beach with a cable snaking out to a cable-laying ship, with large red buoys attached

Next stop, St Helena? A cable-laying ship at work (Creative Commons library image by Sergio77

The campaign to divert an underwater internet cable via St Helena continues to attract publicity around the world. The latest report is on the Computer Active website, which compares the island with an English village.

It quotes Julian Morris, chief executive for economic development on St Helena, who says: “There would need to be support from the British Government. You wouldn’t lay a submarine cable to a village in the UK and we have to be mindful of what’s realistic.

“It is something I’m working hard to make happen.”

St Helena Online understands that the idea is being pursued by officials at the Department for International Development in London, because of the economic importance to bringing high-speed internet to the island.

COMMENT:

If this happens we may get faster Internet, but will we get cheaper Internet?  We currently pay £120 a month(+10% tax) for a package that in a developed country would cost perhaps £10.  Until that price comes down it won’t matter how wide the pipe, many people still won’t be able to afford to connect.

John Turner, St Helena
Burgh House business support

(Editor’s note: St Helena Online understands that although internet access would be much faster, it would still be expensive by world standards)

SEE ALSO:
‘Mum’s asked me to stop sending photos’ – your views on broadband
Internet cable for St Helena: ‘We’re interested’, says The Castle

LINKS:
Computer Active
Connect St Helena

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0 Responses to Efforts continue on St Helena broadband

  1. John Turner says:

    If this happens we may get faster Internet, but will we get cheaper Internet? We currently pay £120/month(+10% tax) for a package that in a developed country would cost perhaps £10. Until that price comes down it won’t matter how wide the pipe, many people still won’t be able to afford to connect.

  2. Bill Hodgson says:

    20Mb/s broadband in the Home Counties is £10 a month. £120 a month is scary.

  3. Dear John,

    Landing the SAex cable on St Helena will of course involve substantial costs that – depending on how much of these will be funded publicly and how much will be born by Cable & Wireless – will have to be charged more or less to subscribers. But once there is enough Internet bandwidth Cable & Wireless can make use of the economies of scale, i.e. acquire more subscribers which would drive down costs per capita. So the increase in subscriptions could probably compensate for the involved costs. Currently such scale-up is impossible due to the lack of bandwidth that would be required to serve more customers at adequate data rates. With enough bandwidth and unlimited data allowance there would also be a savings aspect for consumers who would be enabled to shift their communications from the plain old telephone network to the Internet, which could drive down their telephone bill. Finally in the mid-term revenues generated from tourists’ telecom usage could also contribute significantly in offsetting the investments for the cable landing.
    The more serious problem is that on St Helena a single telecommunications company makes all the output and price decisions and so has complete control over the market. Such monopolistic market definitely requires strict regulation or liberalisation.
    So in my eyes the costs of Internet access on St Helena are more of a regulatory question.

    Kind regards,

    Christian

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