LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.5

Help for AFRIK-IT Archives


AFRIK-IT Archives

AFRIK-IT Archives


AFRIK-IT@LISTSERV.HEANET.IE


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

AFRIK-IT Home

AFRIK-IT Home

AFRIK-IT  October 1996

AFRIK-IT October 1996

Subject:

Cameroon

From:

Jeff Cochrane <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sun, 20 Oct 1996 14:17:31 -5

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (185 lines)

Greetings Afrik-ITers!

This message comes to you from somewhere between Yaounde and Douala.
My car is surrounded by rather dense forests, with occasional breaks
for palm plantations and farms.  We pause occasionally to pay our
toll -- a fee of 500 CFA to be used to maintain the highway, which is
already one of the nicest I've been on in Africa.

I've spent the last four days in Yaounde, hosted by Derek Asoh and
the people of the University of Yaounde's Polytechnic.  The food has
been superb -- especially a dish called DG, which stands for Director
General, and is certainly fit for one.  You'll have to ask Derek to
explain how to find the restaurant -- it's in a quartier not too far
from downtown, upstairs in a flat that houses both the restaurant and
a beauty parlor.

Derek took me on a virtual tour of the new SDNP computer on which
has been installed Linux and related services for UUCP, PPP, POP3,
and SMTP.  Derek's got Linux and also Win95 clients installed on
various computers, and so we put the various systems through their
paces.

The purpose of my visit to Cameroon was to explore possibilities for
Internet access for USAID's environmental program partners in the
region.  However, as is my custom, I also took time to try and learn
about the general state of Internet access in Cameroon.  I hope you
find the excerpt below from my trip report to be of interest.

Cheers!
Jeff @ Douala to catch a flight to Libreville


Access to the Internet in Cameroon

A series of meetings was held at the University of Yaoundé's
Polytechnic School (Ecole Nationale Superieure Polytechnique) and at
the offices of the UNDP.  The UNDP's Sustainable Development
Networking Program (SDNP) has recently initiated a new electronic mail
system at the Polytechnic, bringing to four the number of electronic
mail options there, operating on three separate computers:

  CamFido, [log in to unmask], mail routed via GreenNet in
  London.  Users pay an annual subscription of CFA 125,000 plus about
  CFA 12,500 per month for unlimited volume (CFA 500 = US$ 1).
  Polling costs have been paid in the past by the UN-ECA's CABECA
  project, which recently ended.  It is expected that GreenNet will
  soon begin recovering telephone line charges from CamFido.  CamFido
  is expected to pay that expense, plus the salary of a system
  operator, from subscription fees, and is intended to be fiscally
  self-sustaining.

  HealthNet, [log in to unmask], mail routed via
  HealthNet's Boston node.  HealthNet is a project of Satelife, and
  receives support from USAID and others.  Healthnet operates on the
  same computer as CamFido.  HealthNet polling costs are paid from
  Boston.  Local users pay a nominal fee.  Access is reportedly
  limited to persons in the health sector.

  Polynet, [log in to unmask], mail routed via RIO's node in
  Montpelier.  Polling is five times daily.  Users pay a CFA 200,000
  annual subscription plus CFA 130 per kilobyte (about US$0.50 per
  2000 kilobyte page) with no other monthly charge.  Polynet is
  reportedly financially self-sustaining.

  SDNP/Cameroon, [log in to unmask], mail routed via SNDP's node
  in New York.  SDNP is a program of the UNDP.  No prices have as yet
  been established.  SDNP/UNDP is presently paying all polling costs,
  plus the salaries of two staff, and has donated all equipment (two
  high-capacity PC servers with related hardware and software).  A
  budget for running costs and facilities improvements has been
  submitted to New York, where approval is pending.

Operating expenses for each of these four options are managed
separately.  Administration of CamFido, HealthNet, and SDNP/Cameroon
is within the Automation and Control Laboratory of the Polytechnic.
Polynet is operated within the Mathematics Department of the
Polytechnic.

In addition to these systems at the Polytechnic, there are two
services at the Centre SYFED, which is supported by France:

  REFER encourages research and education in the francophone world,
  and operates a small library in Yaoundé.  In the library are
  terminals where visitors can in principle browse the Internet,
  though access is limited to three hours per day to contain costs.
  The REFER web site can be viewed from any international Internet
  site during those same three hours.  Access is provided via X.25
  lines to the AUPELF server in Paris, where a mirror copy of the
  Yaoundé site is maintained for viewing when Cameroon is offline.
  The cost of the line is roughly CFA 100 per minute and CFA 4.2 per
  kilobyte.  (Hence time charges for the three hours daily are about
  US$35 per day or about $1000 per month.)  Because of cost, Web
  browsing is discouraged.  The hope is that an inexpensive link to
  the Internet will become available locally so that the Centre SYFED
  web services can be expanded.  In the meantime, the Centre SYFED
  offers an ideal place for demonstration of Internet tecnologies.

  The Centre SYFED does offer electronic mailboxes to researchers,
  educators, and others locally, with access to these mailboxes
  provided through a Minitel account.  Minitel is a text data system
  popular in France that operates at Centre SYFED via X.25 lines.
  There are four Minitel ports, permitting up to four simultaneous
  users of the system.  Two terminals are available in the Centre
  SYFED library.  Messages can be printed, but the terminals do not
  permit messages to be saved to diskette.  Terminals are inexpensive,
  costing about $200.  Mailboxes for educators and researchers in the
  francophone world (e.g. doing work with or about the French
  language) are free.  There is a nominal CFA 8000 per month for
  mailboxes for others on an experimental basis.  Terminals at the
  Centre SYFED can be accessed free of charge by all.

HealthNet and CamFido clients can exchange mail locally.  Mail between
all other pairs of systems within Cameroon must be exchanged via their
respective international gateways.  Thus for example, an electronic
mail message from a user of Polynet sent to a user of SDNP-Cameroon
must pass from Yaoundé to Montpelier via X.25 lines, are then passed
through an Internet gateway and transmitted to New York to the
SDNP-New York computer.  The message again passes through a gateway
and is transmitted by telephone lines back to Yaoundé to
SDNP-Cameroon.

SDNP systems are reportedly to be established in several of the other
[Central African] countries -- some equipment has already been shipped.  These
other national SDNP systems may be polled directly from New York, just
as in the case of SDNP/Cameroon.  However, there is under
consideration the possibility of having these other SDNP systems route
their mail destined for New York and beyond via the SDNP/Cameroon
system.

All of the service providers in Cameroon with whom discussions were
held have expressed an interest in accessing the Internet using TCP/IP
locally.  It is reportedly possible to lease high-bandwidth TCP/IP
lines from Intelcam, Cameroon's parastatal monopoly international
telecommunications company.  Intelcam reports they are presently in
discussions with several major international telecommunications
companies concerning a TCP/IP Internet link.  In contrast to many
national parastatal telecommunications monopolies, Intelcam appears to
have adopted a quite liberal policy toward third-party resellers of
telecommunications services, provided these resellers, including
Internet service providers, pay fees to Intelcam.

Prices for leased 64kbps TCP/IP circuits have not been established by
Intelcam, though one senior official of Intelcam expects them to be
between $10,000 and $14,000 per month for resellers.  A lower rate
("soft terms") is expected for leased lines to enterprises that will
not be reselling services.  In other words, prices to be imposed by
Intelcam are not expected to reflect Intelcam's costs, but rather are
to be fixed at a level that reflects uses and potential revenues.  In
this sense, the prices are more like taxes.  The observation was made
to Intelcam representatives that such a pricing policy, with high
prices/taxes for leased lines to be levied on retailers of Internet
services, creates a barrier to entry by any firm with limited access
to capital.

In general, smaller Cameroonian firms may find themselves at a
disadvantage, leaving the market solely in the hands of larger
multinational Internet service providers.  One option for smaller
local service providers to reduce the cost of entry into TCP/IP
services is the sharing of a single line to a common router until such
time as the size of the customer base warrants separate lines to each
provider.  A better solution might be for Intelcam to consider
charging prices to all resellers of Internet services that more
closely reflect Intelcam's costs of providing lines.

There was insufficient time to interview potential Internet retailers
apart from those already operating at the Polytechnic.  However,
should Intelcam decide to rationalize its prices with respect to
costs, and if it makes known its liberal position with respect to
third-party reselling of Internet services, one may expect many small
computer services firms, as well some of the larger multinational
firms already operating in the region, to enter the market.

On the other hand, given its monopoly position in the
telecommunications market, Intelcam may instead choose to pursue a
pricing policy that effectively bars competition.  Intelcam staff
suggest an interest in Intelcam itself offering retail Internet
services.  So long as Intelcam delivers high quality service with
effective technical support at a reasonable price to consumers, then
any pressure on Intelcam to liberalize the Cameroon Internet services
market will presumably abate.

AfricaLink -- http://www.info.usaid.gov/alnk
Tel 1-703-235-5415
Fax 1-703-235-3805

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
September 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
October 2009
September 2009
July 2009
June 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
November 2008
October 2008
August 2008
July 2008
April 2008
March 2008
November 2007
August 2007
July 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
November 2005
October 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996
November 1996
October 1996
September 1996
August 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995
October 1995
September 1995
August 1995
July 1995
June 1995
May 1995

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTSERV.HEANET.IE

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager