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State of the Internet in Africa; Uganda Pilots project PDF Print E-mail

By Tim McGinnis

Amidst the current consumer fury over low quality and high cost of Internet access in Uganda, it struck me that a simple cost and service level comparison website would be a useful consumer tool. 

After several consultations with various stakeholders, the project went ahead to collect data regarding cost and capacity levels from most of Uganda Internet Service Providers, with support from I-network and the International Institute for Communication Development (IICD).

After a long period of designing “bells and whistles” functionality, we have decided to start out more simply, in accord with the survey carried out over the last 3 months at stateoftheinternetin.ug.

In the long term, we hope to build an online community of people interested in gaining and contributing information about the State of the Internet in Africa.  Uganda will be the first country piloted. 

The first phase of the project will be to build the site functionality and populate it with content.  Primarily, content will be crowd sourced, so we will launch the site publicly and ask researchers, operators, bloggers, etc to contribute.

Initially this content will be used for updating the I-network “Guide to Rural connectivity in Uganda” which is updated annually.

We shall also compare service providers pricing and services, focusing on such metrics as price per bit per second for the services that are charged a monthly flat fee, and cost per Megabyte for those services that are charged by the amount of data that is sent over a connection.

In addition, users will blog about trends and recent infrastructure developments affecting Internet services such as 03b networks, EASSy, TEAMS, SEACOM, the Uganda government fiber rollout and more. 

Users will also contribute knowledge to this forum, with hope that it will broaden the reach and scope of the educational effort. We expect that our effort and the Uganda ICT consumer Association hard work will be complimentary projects, feeding off each other.

In other words, we are counting on you the readers of this article to help inform the entire consumer community, especially those who are not yet connected to the Internet about the ISP that offers  value for money.

Objectives of the project include:

  To provide consumer information, to especially new Internet users, so that they can make more informed decisions regarding value for money services.

  To develop a central information repository about Internet developments in Uganda.

  To build a self-sustaining community encompassing various Ugandan Internet stakeholders who normally would not have the opportunity to communicate with each other.

  To encourage users and operators to add their fibre, fixed-line and wireless coverage maps so that people can see at a glance if they can use existing terrestrial connectivity. 

We shall use maps from users, cyber cafés, telecentres, Internet kiosks and other points of connectivity such as ICT4D projects using FOSS mapping software (or Google MapMaker, but we aim to use FOSS whenever possible). 

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