VoIP to help African's call

An article in the New York Times reports on the use of VoIP to get calls in and out of Africa and the response of the local telecommunications companies (which, of course, is to oppose anything that may take their monopoly away).

In a typical response of many entrenched governments and government-supported telephony monopolies, the governments and incumbent telcos of many of the countries in Africa are trying to stop the use of Internet-based telephony, despite the fact that bribery is required in many countries to even get a phone line (due to the backlog for construction of wired phone lines).

The article contains some interesting quotes, such as one from a Norwegian consultant who says that Internet telephony is not the "salvation for business and society in Africa." Citing its ability to wreak havoc on the economics of telephone companies.

In contrast, a businessman in Ghana who is paying $2,000 for his monthly internet connection said, that to get the level of communication he now has using Voice over IP, he would "have to fly to Spain -- several times a week."

Not all countries are actively discouraging internet telephony, but there seem to be few, if any, that are actually endorsing it. That's unfortunate indeed, as under-served areas, like Africa, could benefit from more interaction with the outside.