Here is some update on Djibouti.
Djibouti is a bit warm at the moment (35-40 degrees Celsius). It is also
hot to those who
want to connect to the Internet. It made its link to full TCP/IP in May 1996 via
a private ISP
called STID. Contact:
STID (Societe Telecommunications Internationales de Djibouti)
[log in to unmask]
Names: Mr. Ali and Mr. Bissou (sorry, I do not have full names).
Here are some of the lessons from my brief visit last week.
First lesson. Private ISPs are very efficient. We made applications for
connection in the morning,
within few hours we were online! No bureaucracy, no paper stating that we have
to abide by press
laws blah.. We filled an agreement that states standard Internet etiquette and
ethics and we were
Second lesson: standard software: local users connection at the moment are via
dial-up PPP link.
There are no local leased line links to the IP host at STID. Users connect using
mail and web software (Trumpet Winsock, Eudora and Netscape).
Third lesson: flat fees: this is easier to manage both by client and the service
provider. The bad
news is that the fee is high.
Subscription fee= 50,000 FD ~ US$284
Monthly fee = 35,000 FD ~ US$200
Do not be alarmed with these fees. Many ISPs in Africa (store and forward)
charge higher than
this, see http://www.info.usaid.gov/alnk/ispcosts/data1.html
There are two other lessons from this fee structure.
I. ISP fees are based on local setting.
Djibouti is one of the most expensive port cities in Africa; UNDP estimates
that it costs 1.8 times
of Addis Abeba and Asmara! (This is to alert neighboring countries not to copy
these figures for
their local Internet services!)
II. The smaller the user base the larger the fee
There are less than fifty users at the moment! According to the Director,
these fees will
reduce with increasing user base.
Fourth lesson: Linux! We do not need $200,000 worth equipment to set up a full
IP. Use PCS
running Linux or Free BSD Unix for ten times less than that cost. See Mike
([log in to unmask]) recent article on Computers in Africa about this.
STID has a 64Kbits connection to France and the servers are all running Linux.
I was impressed.
(I was expecting to see large SPARC stations). DNS , Proxy, Web and mail and
news servers are
all running under Linux. This is encouraging for development aid, local
academic institutions and other connectivity initiatives. Spread Linux
throughout Africa and wait