Bandwidth revolution

The Seacom cable connects Africa with Asia and Europe.

The Seacom cable connects Africa with Asia and Europe.

 By the July 23, 2009 the Seacom optic fibre undersea cable was switched on and ready for South Africa.

The cable, which runs down the east coast of Africa and connects several east African countries and India, offers a higher quality of broadband at the fraction of the cost.

Bandwidth in Africa, and some other developing countries was expensive and slow, so not many people were able to access it.

Seacom CEO, Brian Herlihy said that this was a new era for communications in Africa because it was connecting Africa with the rest of the world in terms of bandwidth.

My biggest excitement was that this meant cheaper broadband. However, it was later announced that prices would not decrease as expected just yet.

ICT analyst Lindsey McDonald, said, “The changes will be gradual. We’ll most likely see better packages, higher speeds and more value in general as suppliers feel the need to compete.”

 “You need to remember wholesale broadband (which is what Seacom offers) is only a fraction of the operators’ running costs, so we won’t see massive price drops immediately,” she said.

The Seacom project was over $600million and took 24 months to complete.

The Seacom project was over $600million and took 24 months to complete.

That aside, what does these undersea cables mean for businesses and business models?

1.According to the CEO of Seacom, it opens up opportunities to network on a global scale. Global audiences mean more business for information based companies on a global scale.

2. The launch of the Seacom cable does, however, mean that there is now some competition in a market that has been monopolistic for years. Previously only companies such as Telkom provided internet services to South Africans.

South Africa has one of the highest Internet and calling tariffs in the world as customers in South Africa were paying approximately R2 for every MB (megabyte). Seacom promised it would assist in bringing wholesale data prices down by 90%.  

 3. Cheaper more accessible broadband means that more people will have access to the internet.

4. More people accessing the internet will mean that businesses will have access to a larger market as more people will be able to access bandwidth needed applications and services.

 5. High quality broadband will mean that new forms of advertising and marketing can be used. Image adverts, videos and podcasts can be used without worrying about bandwidth restrictions and exceeding quotas. This in turn also means that businesses can be more creative in their approaches.

6. Although marketing for every company is important, this is not the only thing that high quality cheaper broadband will allow in South Africa. South Africa’s information related businesses will benefit the most from this.

7. The cable is also offers the opportunity for more bandwidth heavy applications in South Africa, which means that businesses can compete on the same level as global markets in the international markets.

8. Training and education will also be transforming. Local university Durban University of Technology (DUT) was connected with the Seacom cable as the Tertiary Education Network (Tenet) downloaded their first test data over its network.

DUT vice-chancellor Roy du Pre says “The importance of this to our research is immeasurable. Our researchers will be able to keep in constant contact with their colleagues and peers overseas, be able to download the latest data, research journals and other information. Until now, they had to go to the library and find the book they were looking for and often it would be out of date.”

This means that education and training can encourage international teaching standards, ensure that students have access to internet and other important resources. Drawing a random link to business, this means that better education in economics and business sectors will ensure that these sectors will always have fully trained individuals for these positions.  This will greatly benefit businesses in the future.

Rhodes students are also positive about the Seacom cable and it effects on their lives and their futures.

 “From what I’ve heard it’s going to have positive effects. Like more bandwith and faster connections but it sucks that Rhodes is no longer on the list of people that will benefit without having to build their own link to the cable,” said Second year student Tarryn Liddell.

“I think SEACOM’s fibre optic cable is awesome and it’s gonna free us all from the stranglehold that high broadband prices have on our economy,” said Master’s student Ian Sieborger.

The bandwidth revolution definitely offers a sea of opportunities for businesses in South Africa and the rest of Africa.

TIP: Cash into the revolution.

Even though prices have not gone down, get your business geared towards a more information and internet related economy now. Don’t be left behind.



I mentioned previously eMarketing. One of the ways to market your product or service online is by using Google advertising and one of the forms of advertising is Google Adwords. This post hope to give you simple step by step instructions to get started on advertising online.

Google Adwords was launched in 2000 in order to keep up with the changing face of the economy and of advertising.

The Google search engine identifies words that have been used in the search engine query and then brings out a list of results relating to the keyword typed in. Google uses algorithms to search the indexes of various sites and picks out the words.

This is useful for marketing as the search engine picks up the words used in your advert. For instance, if you are selling insurance and a person queries the word ‘insurance’, your advert will come up in the sponsored list next to the search results. This however, is dependent on the ‘Ad Auction’ and whether or not you bid the high enough for the keyword.

Starting out

1. Get an Adwords account.

2. Before choosing your keywords, it is important to know what your market and where they are located. Thereafter you can choose what type of campaign would be most beneficial your company or product or service.

There are two types of campaigns: a keyword targeted and site targeted campaigns.

 A keyword targeted campaign refers to a campaign which enables the user to access to the advert when they type in certain key words in the search engine. Again, this depends on how high you have bid for the keyword in the first place.

A site targeted campaign means that your campaign can target people in specific areas. For example if you offer a service in Johannesburg, then your advertising campaign will be useless in Japan as they cannot use your service. Therefore, you would target customers from Johannesburg and surrounding areas as your market lies in those areas.

3. Choose the type of advert you would want to place in your adgroup, for instance would a text advert, an image ad or video ad be more effective for your company. Thereafter choose what you want the advert to say. If it is a keyword campaign, decide what words will trigger the advert.

Pricing Models

The pricing model refers to the payment currency and the way you choose to pay for the advertising used and viewed. A business may choose from paying for CPC or Cost Per Click, which means that you pay every time a user clicks on your advert. CPM or Cost Per thousand views means you pay only after a thousand impressions have been made. CPA is the cost per acquisition which implies that only after the advert leads to the user purchasing or using the product do you pay for the advert.

The pricing model also allows the business to decide what your monthly budget will be and subsequently prevents you from overspending on your budget.

 Adwords Auction

Adwords Auction refers to bidding for a keyword.  Other advertisers might want the same keyword, so in order to gain the top position on the search list; you should have a quality advert, great keywords and must have bid higher than the next advertiser for it.

Google considers the higher CPC or cost per click and CTR or Click through rate when deciding which advert is the most relevant to show on the search list. If your maximum Cost Per Click is higher than the other advetisers, then your advert will appear higher on the search list.

There are numerous other things to consider when setting up your Adwords account, so be on the lookout for more tips on optimising your campaign.

TIP: Explore other areas of marketing such as Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimisation (SEO).

A note of thanks to Marketing and Advertising Using Google by Google (2007) for this information.

Sell Yourself

Socialite, Kim Kardashian, is not really an actress or singer, yet she is everywhere and has fast become so popular. The reason she, along with so many other celebrities who have faded out of the limelight, still have such a presence is because they have branded themselves and marketed their identities well.

 MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Hi5, Linkedin have all contributed to the online presence of celebrities. However, companies and other businesses can benefit from online marketing and the use of social networks. For example, Ashton Kutcher has over 1 million twitter friends following him. While this is different for companies compared with people and celebrities, online tools, social networks and social media are useful tools for businesses.

Online marketing is referred to as iMarketing or eMarketing.

Blogging is also an effective marketing tool. In the book “Blogging heroes: interviews with 30 of the world’s top bloggers” by Michael A. Banks (2008), he speaks to a majority of bloggers who began their blogs in order to advertise their companies. They have advertised their blogs on various aggregator sites, such as Aggregator and social networks, such as Twitter, MySpace and Facebook,  which have directed the interested audience to their blog. The blog was able to market their businesses and keep their potential clients updated on developments.

Dave Taylor, who was the number one on Bank’s top bloggers list, began his blog when people emailed him the same questions over and over again. He then began his blog The Intuitive Life Business Blog in order to reach his audience and reply to potential clients all at once.

 According to David Taylor, blogs can help you “establish a voice” and identity online, as well as give you an authority in your marketplace (Banks, 2008: 5).

There are many benefits with regards to online advertising for your company. Firstly, there are more options in terms payment options. Secondly, in terms of design and advertising sizes eMarketing is slightly less restrictive than traditional media. Lastly there is the fact that online sites are customisable.

Firstly, pricing is positive in online marketing is the pricing. Previously in analog media such as newspapers, advertising was expensive as it charged (beforehand) according to its circulation figures. There are various pricing options to choose from, for example, if you would rather pay every time someone clicks on the ad (CPC or Cost per click), or whether pay per impression or action. You are able to customise pricing options to suit your pocket and your company.

With regards to design, online advertising allows you to really brand your business and become creative. The creativity lies in creating a name and look that is eye catching, appealing and unforgettable. Every child is able to recognise a Cocoa Cola or MacDonald’s sign or logo, your brand should do the same. You are also able to choose the size of your ad on other sites, for example would a banner or skyscraper ad suit what you are advertising?

In South Africa, which is still faced with unequal internet access and bandwidth problems, online advertising and marketing has not yet taken off like its counterparts in the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, online advertising has surpassed television advertising or adspend. But if you look at the growing trend overseas, you should prepare your company for the online marketing wave that should soon to hit South Africa.


Tips: Choose a great, catchy name and tagline

Get a cool unforgettable design to accompany it

Published in: on May 12, 2009 at 4:33 pm  Comments (2)  
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