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AFRIK-IT  September 1997

AFRIK-IT September 1997

Subject:

Re: Regulation/Deregulation [WAS Re: An Observation]

From:

Nemo Semret <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Tue, 23 Sep 1997 15:54:06 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (49 lines)

> I like what the World Bank President recently said, roughly that
> there is no opposition to government enterprises and monopolies when
> they work well. It just seems like in this particular industry they
> typically don't work very well.  But there are exceptions.

I believe they can't work well because this is a fast changing
industry where you need to innovate, and you need choices between
different providers, in order to see which approaches work best. Also,
you need choices because there isn't one solution. The Internet is not
one service. Afrik-ites know as well as anyone that it fulfils very
different needs for different users.

Can a monopoly be decent?  Possible... Travelling in a horse drawn
carriage is decent.

>
> Ethiopian Telecom can easily eliminate all protests about its
> monopoly if it provides good service at a good price.

All? Since I'm in a betting mood, I bet there will be a grad student
or two to keep harping about deregulation from afar.

In any case, I wouldn't be so bold as to suggest that they give up
their phone monopoly (yet!), it's a big cash cow.  Let them continue
milking it for now. But Internet service, they have got to open it
up. Now is the time for local providers to start, and be able to
grow. If not, when the inevitable deregulation happens, baby Ethiopian
ISPs will enter this business like sheep in an industry dominated by
highly experienced wolves, from say Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, the US
or for that matter Malaysia, which I gather is already making moves to
be a major player in this business in Africa.

>
> I should think Ethiopia's citizens will want to know why they are
> being left behind when a solution to their problem is readily
> available.
>

Damn right. They will want to know in a few years why they have no
jobs in the world's major        industry, low access to the world's most
valuable resource (information), and why they are a negligible dot on
the world info-map.

        -nemo-

P.S. It would be nice to hear from Ethiopian Telecom on this, but
don't hold your breath. Their e-mail is down, messages have been
bouncing back...

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