> It seems to me there's an incredibly small market for internet services in
> Niger. Who would the subscribers be, other than an odd NGO, a few
> commercial interests, and a few gov't people?
Just a few examples:
The Niger President's office presently (ok, before the coup) pays
several thousand dollars per month to receive news clippings by fax
from France. They could get the same or better information via the
Internet, probably from the same news service, but by email instead
AGRHYMET, a research center, wishes to transfer very large image maps
via ftp, but presently uses a very expensive INMARSAT system. They
would switch to an Internet service provider.
ICRISAT has a large research experiment station in Niger, and has a
very large budget for communications. They expressed a keen desire
for someone to offer them Internet access, and a willingness to pay a
significant sum for it.
These are three of the major users. Then there are all the minor
users who are presently using Fidonet, CC:Mail, and X.25 systems, and
who would quite willingly plop down up to $100 per month each for
high quality SLIP or PPP access. NGOs are a big part of the market,
but there are also missionaries, schools, universities, hospitals and
clinics, and the dozens of individual government offices that each
presently spend incredible sums for fax and telephone.
> I really am curious to know how these people are going to make any money,
> with such a small subscriber base.
The assumption is that the subscriber base is quite small, and also
that a very large subscriber base is required. My report from Niger
documents that neither of those assumptions is correct. I'll try and
put the full report up on our web site when I return to Washington.
Jeff @ Gaborone