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When will we get decent bandwidth? When will data prices come down? These are some of the most common questions about communications in South Africa. The reason we seldom get answers is that the questions are wrong. They do not take into account the many nuances of connectivity and cost. In particular, they ignore the fact that, if you have the means to buy large bundles, costs have come down dramatically; if you are in the right location and have the means to pay for decent connectivity, bandwidth can be magnificent. The real issues are about distribution of bandwidth, availability of new forms of connectivity and high costs for the poor. The latter typically use data on an ad hoc basis and usually see it coming off their airtime at some of the highest prices in the world. No amount of cajoling by mobile operators will move people to buying bundles when these simply do not fit into their budgets. In many cases, the responsibility lies at the door of these operators. They rarely app...

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