Forwarding news item:
Originator: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
State accused of planning to monopolise Internet service
(MISA/IFEX) - A fight has broken out between Zimbabwe's Internet Service
Providers (ISPs) and the state-controlled Post and Telecommunications
Corporation (PTC) over control of the body that registers new Internet
sites. The ISPs say the PTC is the last organisation they want to see
control the Zimbabwe Top Level Domain (ZW-TLD). They also claim the
charges for a bandwidth are far too high for the local providers.
Quinton O'Neall, technology manager of Data Control, a local ISP,
the PTC is trying to monopolise the business so that it can regulate who
gets registered and who does not. O'Neall says, "What we want is an
independent body so that it is fair." In addition to the Internet
the PTC has a government mandate to control posts and telecommunications
under the ministry of information, broadcasting, posts and
ISPs argue that the PTC does not have the capacity to take charge of the
domain. According to a 1995 World Bank World Development Report,
telephone network also has 215 faults per 100 mainlines a year, a poor
showing for the PTC. Moreover, it can take years to obtain a new
line in Zimbabwe.
Other ISPs claim the PTC charges are the highest in the world and may be
designed to keep away some people from jumping into the market. Scott
Nursten of the Data Control says, "A bandwidth here is up to a hundred
thousand Zimbabwe Dollars (about US$ 13,000)." Nursten spoke to MISA on
But the PTC defends itself against ISPs' claims. Postmaster General
Mutambirwa told MISA on 9 September that the ISPs' fears were baseless.
Mutambirwa said the PTC has no intention of monopolising the Internet in
Zimbabwe. "Monopolies are not for this age...," he said.
For further information, contact David Nthengwe at MISA, Private Bag
Windhoek, Namibia, tel: +264 61 232975, fax: +264 61 248016, e-mail:
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