Greetings Afrik-ITers!

I neglected to mention our visits to ISPs in Bamako.  We concluded a
very long morning of meetings in Sotuba, and then returned to Bamako
for lunch at the Campagnard -- my lasagna looked really nice, but I
gave it to my traveling companion when his pizza was delivered with
unwanted pork products dabbled across the top.

In the afternoon we made the rounds of several of the local ISPs.
There are apparently four now in operation with licenses under the
arrangement negotiated with SoTelMa and the USAID Leland Initiative.
My understanding is that the agreement provided for an initial four
commercial ISP licenses, and there are reportedly about a dozen more
potential market entrants considering their chances.

DataTech offers 15 hours per month PPP with all the usual
Internet services (e.g. email, Web) for F20,000 CFA plus F1,500 for
additional hours.  Figure about F600 CFA to US$1.  They offer
unlimited access at F75,000, but there's also about a F20 per minute
telephone line usage charge from SoTelMa with which to contend.

CEFIB offers a mail-only account for only F10,000 per month, which
seems like quite a bargain.  Their minimum full-service account is
F35,000 for 25 hours per month, with the charge for surplus hours
F2000.  Their unlimited formula is F75,000.

I have no basis for a comparison of service quality.  Many speak of
MaliNet as being of the highest quality, but when pressed for a
reason they simply cite them as having been around the longest.  We
have encouraged our partners to shop for best price/quality
combinations.  MaliNet charges F25,000 for up to 30 hours, and
F150,000 for unlimited, which reportedly includes unlimited email

We were also told that a local leased line (within Bamako) runs
about F1.1 million ($1800) per month.  But there was a report of a
technician to arrive soon with Leland Initiative funding to upgrade
some SoTelMa equipment to permit perhaps better access to their
satellite hub.

I left a message at MaliNet asking for a meeting with an old friend
there.  He failed to turn up, but did get a message to me in Sikasso,
asking that I stop by on my return to Bamako.  He obviously assumed
we'd be driving back to Bamako for a flight out.  Instead, we were to
continue to Abidjan by road once we completed our interviews in

Jeff @ Washington
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1111 North 19th Street Suite 210
Arlington, VA 22209 USA
Tel 1-703-235-5415  Fax 1-703-235-3805