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How Bad Is Africa’s Internet?

A decadelong quest aims to pinpoint the Internet bottlenecks holding Africa back

8 min read
A decadelong quest aims to pinpoint the Internet bottlenecks holding Africa back
Illustration: Dan Page


The University of Kinshasa, the largest university in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has nearly 30 000 students, faculty, and research staff—but only 800 computers. And although its internal data network is fast enough to support on-campus e-mail, virtual library access, and online coursework, its link to the outside world is no better than that of a typical household in the United States or Europe.

When I visited the university about a year ago, the restricted capacity meant that only 200 senior staff had Internet privileges—for whatever those were worth. I was able to go online for a short time, but the connection was barely usable. Web pages timed out or loaded so slowly that after about 10 minutes, I simply gave up.

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Jay Last, a Father of Silicon Valley, Dies at 92

IEEE also mourns the loss of several former society presidents

4 min read
A smiling older man in glasses

Jay Last

Max S. Gerber/Redux

Jay Last

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3 min read
A photo of a man in a suit with his hand on a toy in a maze.
KEYSTONE/GETTY IMAGES

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3 min read

This is a sponsored article brought to you by National Instruments (NI).

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