Poor Internet may Stop Africans from Enjoying Google Stadia

Last month, Google unveiled its newest project, Stadia, a game streaming service similar to video streaming on YouTube, which will allow the digital communications giant to capitalize on its cloud technology and a global network of data centers. It is an unprecedented leap in the cloud computing revolution that will stream games in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second without a console. The countdown is already on with Google set to launch Stadia in the summer of 2019 first in North America, then Europe. Africa, on the other hand, doesn’t seem involved in the Stadia euphoria.

 Google Stadia is a brand new game streaming service that promises more entertainment at less hassle than any before it. – Digital Trends

For African gamers, they might be cut off from the excitement considering the poor level of internet connectivity across most of the 54 countries, especially those in the sub-Sahara region. Besides, most African digital technology users and gamers are not fully integrated into cloud technology and the inadequate supply of power will not increase their chances of enjoying the gaming service either.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The high price of data limits how much benefits African internet users derive from the internet. Internet service providers are often compelled to spend more than normal of their revenue on tax. This is at the same time they have to battle with numerous unfair state regulations.[/perfectpullquote]

Although there is an increase in the number of internet users on the continent, Africa is still not fully integrated into the global broadband system. Most Africans still live in communities with little to zero access to the internet and oftentimes, government policies, as we’ve seen in places like Zimbabwe and Tanzania, restricts citizens from certain online services; Outright blockage of the internet have followed in some cases.

In the countries fortunate to have non-state restrictions on internet access, the level of connectivity is sometimes low. In most rural Africa, electricity has yet to meet human demand. Some places have never had power supply. This is one reason internet service providers find it difficult to invest in integrating remote communities into their services in the first place. And of course, the government wouldn’t invest in their integration either.

Whereas, electricity is the backbone of internet services. But to create market opportunities out of these communities, network providers have often turned to alternative sources of energy to power their facilities. Many African countries still rely on hydroelectric power generation. But Africa must look beyond this option and rather explore alternate sources of energy like fossil fuel and biomass. Fixing the power problem will also open more opportunities like investments in data centers and servers. The high cost of internet data bundle will equally be a huge limitation to the chances of African gamers willing to enjoy Google Stadia.

The high price of data limits how much benefits African internet users derive from the internet. Internet service providers are often compelled to spend more of their revenue on tax payments. This is at the same time they have to battle with numerous unfair state regulations.

The consequence is that the high cost of operation trickle down to the price of their services i.e., the consumer pay more than normal. It’s simple: if service providers are able to reduce their cost of operation, the price of data bundle will decrease and Africans can enjoy services like Google Stadia at low cost.

Governments should also not always leave the work or building telecommunication grids and other facilities to internet service providers alone. Investors will only feel the need to risk their capital when the conditions are good.

Larger network coverage will only give Africans better chances to use services like Stadia and room to innovate new ideas that will be valuable to the prosperity of the continent. There is absolutely no doubt that the increasing rate of global digitization and connectivity is improving innovations.

Africa has the population and market to be the new frontier in this new battle of innovation. We should leverage this advantage.

Aondoyila Lewis Tanguhwar is an African Liberty Writing Fellow. He is a volunteer at Student for Liberty and can be reached on Twitter via @Lewi_keezy.