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AFRIK-IT  February 1996

AFRIK-IT February 1996

Subject:

Re: Internet Service Provider in Zimbabwe

From:

Peter da Costa <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Sat, 24 Feb 1996 10:05:23 GMT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (98 lines)

At 10:24 23/02/96 PST, SCS wrote:
>I understand Samara Services is set up and offering full v34 internet
>connections in Harare.  I have their four-page offering.
 
Yes, I understand the same. However I still have nor received a reply from
Mark at Samara to my e-mail (sent to [log in to unmask]) asking for details.
Can you forward me the 4-pager to [log in to unmask]
 
>  Does anyone know
>if they are the only ones in Zimbabwe, or have any experience with the
>quality of their service?
 
The oldest provider in Zim is Data Control, which is a Zimbabwe subsidiary
of Pipex. The domain is @harare.iafrica.com. They run a leased line to
Capetown and connect to the Internet via a V-SAT link, I think of 128 KB.
Data Control gives you full Internet access with unlimitd time on-line for
Zimbabwe dollars 600 setup and installation and ZWD 475 (which, excluding 15
percent VAT, is about US$ 630 a year in total) for every subsequent month.
Unlimited e-mail only is much cheaper. They have a nice Home Page
(http://www.harare.iafrica.com) and offer lots of local services (yellow
pages etc). They also link you directly to altavista, yahoo, and won the
best Web site award recently for their work promoting tourism.
 
Problem with Data Control is that of the 45 lines they have for clients, at
least 27 are down, thanks to the PTC here -- which I have to say is not one
of Africa's leading telecomms companies. Access to Data Control during peak
Internet use hours is therefore a frustrating affair. Rob at Data Control
says he has put in several application to the PTC for more leased lines, and
is also on their backs re the faulty telephone lines. A colleague
recommended we should try Samara because they are brand new and probably do
not have the capacity probs of Data Control. If you want more info on Data
Control; send a message to Rob or Clint at [log in to unmask]
 
>Are they the best one to use in Harare?
 
They know their stuff and are professionals, but have this connectivity
problem as I explained above. If they don't sort it out soon, I figure a lot
of people will look for alternatives.
 
I also know of Stellar Systems, which has been around a couple of years and
is supposedly offering Internet services. But I don't have their number and
have been too busy to go and find it. (Mike Jensen, if you're reading this,
pls supply contacts for Stellar and Samara if you have them. I've been
trying to call you for day snow but your fax is permanently on).
 
>We are considering supporting our affiliates in Harare to get on line, and
want >to make the right decision before we spend a Z$5,250 for start up fee
and a
>year's unlimited subscription, and the cost of a couple 28.8 modems, and
>training and software - I'm estimating US$1,000 for the year (besides the
>PTC call costs).
 
The problems you are likely to encounter in Zim are the following:
 
1. PTC - this is a major constraint
2. Legality issues - technically, no one in Zim is allowed to offer Internet
services, but if the PTC sees it is benefitting (as with Data Control which
pays huge amounts for its 45 telephone lines and for the leased Hre-Capetown
line) it might turn a blind eye. Your affiliates would have to do a lot of
political-type work with the PTC, however. And the more companies that
approach the PTC for huge numbers of lines, the more of an issue the
legality of private Internet provision will become in Zim. Demand may either
lead to the requisite amendments to the relevant Govt acts, or to a backlash.
 
There is no clear government policy on the Internet in Zimbabwe. Fears of
compromising national security and bringing in undesirable foreign values
are those most heard from official quarters. In addition the monopolistic
PTC is paranoid about losing market share to private telecomms providers
(they have only just this year decided to launch a cellphone network, and
only after a private Zim company successfully defeated in the courts the
Information minister's argument that until a regulatory framework is in
place, the PTC should maintain a monopoly over cellphone services).
 
That said, there are lots of very dynamic and knowledgeable pro-Internet
types working in the PTC, in the universities, and at large in Zim. They
however cannot change policy on their own.
 
>I'd appreciate any and all feedback,
>Steve Smith
>[log in to unmask]
>
Cheers
Peter
24.02.96
 
 
Peter da Costa
Regional Director for Africa
Inter Press Service (IPS) Third World News Agency
127 Union Avenue, P.O. Box 6050, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: (263-4) 790104/5  Fax: (263-4) 728415
E-mail: <[log in to unmask]> or <[log in to unmask]>
Home Pages:
http://wn.apc.org/ips/ips.htm (South Africa)
http://www.link.no/IPS/eng/intro.html (Norway)
http://www.lead.org/ips/ips.html (United Kingdom)
http://africa.cis.co.za (Worldnet Africa)

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