Waiting to Download…

Jacques Akplogan(in plaid shirt), and members of the local team are working to accelerate the rate of scripture translation in Togo, Africa.

The rate of Bible translation is growing rapidly largely due to technology, and the backbone of current technology is the Internet. With internet access, teams can share files and communicate through email, they can communicate with a translation consultant on another continent when they need help with concepts or wording, and they can back up their valuable work. Backups are important everywhere but especially in areas where computers can be stolen or confiscated.

According to Speedtest.net data, the average global download speed is 45 Mbps. Most African countries speeds are so slow, they don’t even make their list. Efforts in Togo, a West African nation, where translation work is active, are being held back, slowed down, by the lack of basic internet access. They pay $136/month for an advertised download speed of only 1.66 Mbps. While this is expensive for a slow connection, it is not the whole story. In Africa, what is advertised is not always what you get. Here, they may be only getting 0.25 Mbps*. At those speeds even sending simple text-only email can become a challenge, especially since bandwidth is being shared with 20 computers.

Jacques Akplogan, the Africa Area IT Consultant, is managing the Africa Internet Improvement Program. Jacques lives in France but travels regularly to the French-speaking parts of Africa. Being able to measure internet speed accurately is a critical component of the program.

GTIS (Global Technology and Information Services) is developing a low cost, low power, and easily deployable solution to monitoring internet speeds. This system is based upon the inexpensive and popular Raspberry Pi computer. This device can be sent to project sites and all they have to do is to plug it in and connect it to their local network. It will then monitor and report back to a cloud-based management dashboard. Once in place, this system will be able to provide accurate monitoring of Internet speeds in multiple locations in Africa. The first testing of this is scheduled to be in June 2018. With accurate monitoring in place, teams will be able to measure the effectiveness of changes they make to improve internet speeds.

GTIS is working so that people in Togo and other African countries won’t have to wait to download God’s words of hope in the language they understand the best.

-KB

* 2018 – Africa Network Monitoring System Project data, #service-impact

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