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AFRIK-IT  February 1996

AFRIK-IT February 1996

Subject:

Re: Private firms and rural areas

From:

Dr Eberhard W Lise <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Tue, 13 Feb 1996 19:03:09 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (144 lines)

At 2:41 PM 12/2/96, Jeff Cochrane USAID AfricaLink wrote:
>Dr. Lisse continues:
>
>> none of the commercial Internet efforts outside of South Africa
>> are viable and it is highly debatable if they will be.
>
>I presume Dr. Lisse means that none of the private sector TCP/IP
>international service providers outside of South Africa are viable.
>I agree that the jury is still out for them.  (There are, however,
>quite a few email-only providers in the private sector that are quite
>viable.)
 
Sure, email only is a totally different thing and I have shown the figures here
before how little it costs to pump the bytes to a profit margin can be made :-)-O
 
>Uganda and Ghana are certainly the most interesting test cases for
>three TCP/IP systems that started in the private sector.  Zambia is
>an interesting test case for a system that started in the public
>sector and then was privatized.  The true test will be whether any of
>the four are operating with a positive cash flow in a year's time.
Zambia started from an email only system and then got major outside funding,
I am quite convinced it was a loan which specified such a public-interest
company to be formed...
 
>And Dr. Lisse complains:
>
>> What is downright annoying is that those commercial ISPs will of
>> course not go into the rural, deprived areas.
>
>Why "of course"?  Is there no penetration of private sector ISPs in
>South Africa in rural areas?  Rather, I think the private ISPs in
Where are they? QuaQua, deep Natal, Northern Cape?
 
>South Africa provide service anywhere in South Africa where there is
>a phone for a SLIP/PPP connection, plus a bit of cash to cover a
>subscription.
Thank you for proving my point.
 
There is no country in Africa other then South Africa and maybe Egypt
which is not a typical developing country, where an ISP (commercial or
otherwise) has a local access number outside of the capital. There is
talk about Bulawayo getting a node, but I haven't pinged it yet...
 
 
>Further, ISPs in South Africa provide full Internet access in
>Botswana to anyone who can afford the US$0.65 per minute
>telecommunication charge paid to Botswana Telecomms.  The reason
 
Sure. And  anyone in Niger or any other country which has a telephone link
to a developed country can do the very same thing.
 
>there is no local dialup in Gaborone for these services is not
>because firms do not wish to provide the service. Rather, Botswana
>Telecomms will not permit it.
Well, this maybe or maybe not so, but what does this have to do with
anything? The capital Gaberone will get it eventually or rather as soon
as BT finds out there is money to be made or when someone in Govt
wants it.
 
Our TeleCom was a bit hesitant at first but they have realized that they did
not loose any money at all.
 
 
>And for those who for some reason have a strong dislike for private
>sector ISPs, there is always Rhodes and SANGONet.  But those
>services aren't free.  Even if the end user pays low or no fees,
>someone is paying for the facility, utilities, equipment
>maintenance, technical support, the telephone charges...
 
NAMIDEF which I quoted as the example is exactly the same
as SANGONet (a non-profit NGO) and NAMIDEF does connect
to UNINET which you mean by Rhodes.
 
Fascinating turn you achieved here, I am nothing but amazed.
 
>The key question for "rural, deprived areas" is how shall their
>access be paid?  Is the public sector somehow better able than the
 
I am really starting to worry now. You actually want to tell me that
you are unaware of the big TeleCom companies trying to pick the
raisins out of the cake (profitable, overseas calls)? Which ISP has
put a leased line into a rural area, as in former homeland so that
(government) schools can have a leased line for 2$US per km per
month or  dialup for a local phone call 10c per 4 minutes?
 
>private sector to provide such areas with access?  What about some
>blending of the two? Should public funds be funneled through public
>service providers, or should those funds subsidize public
>subscriptions to private service providers?  Or a bit of both,
>depending on the context?
 
An NGO can charge businesses so that they subsidize the individuals.
And it can charge government so it subsidizes the effort.
 
The idea behind this is to cut the overhead. 38% Corporate Tax? No.
Profit margin? No. Perks? No. Rent? 1$US per year. Accounts, secretarial
services? Done by the major service NGO in return for IP access.
Otherwise it can be run as a business... Once the thing flies you can hire
staff.
 
And of course once the big ISPs see there is a market they will come in
anyway with their two  Marketing  and PR graduates to to the talkshow
saying that the Internet has 100 Million users whereas their own home
page quotes 30 (!) and talk about setting up a video camera at  the
waterhole in the game  park to show prospective tourists overseas live
videos via the Web (!) or to set up a video on the meat factory so that
overseas customers can satisfy themselves via the Web that the production
is up to their hygienic standards (!).
 
No joke, btw :-)-O
 
 
 
>A related question for "rural, deprived areas" is how shall their
>access be organized.  I notice in ZamNet's fee structure a provision
 
Very simple, they fill in a form get assigned an account and a password
and they can dial the router (2511 does nicely I hear).
 
 
>for "walk-in" service.  That is, someone without a computer or a
>telephone can walk into ZamNet's office and have access to a
 
Sure that would be a 500 km walk then for someone from the
country?
 
>terminal.  Some people call this a "kiosk" service.  I know that
>something similar is offered by the service in Freetown.
 
You know their hourly rates too? (BTW I admire what they have achieved
in ZM, make no mistake).
 
 
el
 
 
--
Dr. Eberhard W. Lisse   \         /              Swakopmund State Hospital
<[log in to unmask]>            *        |               Resident Medical Officer
Private Bag 5004          \      /      +264 64  461503 (pager) 461005 (home) 461004 (fax)
Swakopmund, Namibia        ;____/ Zone/Domain Contact for the NA-DOM
Vice-Chairman, Board of Trustees, Namibian Internet Development Foundation,
an Association not for Gain. NAMIDEF is the Namibian Internet Service Provider.

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