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Saturday, 20 June 2009

Harnessing the Internet

Tovin Ngombe discusses why despite being among the first African countries to be hooked to the internet, Zambia has failed to improve the production of local content.


  1. Cho,
    I do recall making a comment on this forum some 2 years ago or so about the need for local content in Zambia , but I can't seem to find the article! I think it was in response to one of Brenda Zulu's blogs you featured.

    Anyway, I argued then that local content for local people would help ease the pressure on the international bandwidth, which at the time was in extremely short supply.

    The author of this new article raises some important issues. Basically the Zambian government has been slow to realise the important of ICT as an enabling technology. We heard recently the US President Barrack Obama declaring his country's ICT infrastructure as a strategic national asset. He's also availed several billions of dollars to role out Next Generation Networks as part of an infrastructure stimulus!

    The latest Digital Britain report features some notable countries like the UK itself, Australia and others, all announcing major plans for Next Generation Access to digital information, part funded by the tax payer. Yes, these are rich countries who can afford the billions needed for it, however, if developing countries can learn something from it, it should be that this is the way to go and they should make similar plans in their own small way.

    Countries like Zambia should also take advantage of new, cheaper, and better technologies and as such be able to 'leap-frog' some costly and/or ineffective ones. For instance, Zambia cannot afford Fibre to the Home (FTTH), but we can afford WiMAX!

    We can also afford VoIP, which will reduce the cost of calls especially for those that can hardly afford current rates, yet this is a technology the government has sought to legislate against and effectively ban!

    We don't even have to invest in research in most of this stuff; it's all there for us to pick and use as we please.

  2. Zedian,

    I believe you are referring to this post - Mobile banking.... I found it by using the search function at the bottom of the blog.

    Great discussion there!

  3. Local content is there but in other media - newspapers, magazines, emails etc. It needs to be on the web too, in a well-designed format. More local content => more interest from Zambians => more incentive to get on the internet => market driven expansion of infrastructure. It would be nice to use a Zambian web hosting provider, but it's not necessary. At the Best of Zambia we use GoDaddy in USA though we're based in UK and Zambia - 99% up time.

  4. Julia Brown,

    Yes, Zesco isn't helping the situation at the moment on the power supply side of things.

    However, as you said about "market driven expansion of infrastructure", I suppose it is also right to assume that the more local there is, perhaps the more hosting companies will appreciate the value or reliability to their customers and begin to invest in redundant systems and things like that.

    It's not very long ago when lack of reliability was a major issue with service providers in places like the UK. But, as internet services became more widespread, reliability went up. Of course competition played a part, but that too was driven by demand. It's sort of cyclic.


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