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Overview of Internet in The Gambia. By: Muhammed Jah QuantumNET Company Limited. What is covered?. History of Internet in The Gambia Current Situation: Achievements Issues & Constraints Recommendations & Strategies. Brief History of the Internet in The Gambia.

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Overview of internet in the gambia l.jpg

Overview of Internet in The Gambia

By: Muhammed Jah

QuantumNET Company Limited


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What is covered?

  • History of Internet in The Gambia

  • Current Situation: Achievements

  • Issues & Constraints

  • Recommendations & Strategies


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Brief History of the Internet in The Gambia

  • 1992-1993 : GAMTEL offered X.25 Network Services in GBA

  • 1993 : BICI pioneered X.25 WAN in GBA

  • 1995: GAMTEL introduced CompuServe Services with limited internet access through X.25 with BT Info Services

  • 1996: Delphi Internet services introduced


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Brief History (contd.)

  • Mar. 1997: Abuja Meeting - UNDP Internet Initiative for Africa

  • Oct. 1998:2MBps Full Internet backbone nationwide , with 512K gateway bandwidth

  • Nov. 1998: 2 ISPs operational, Gamtel & QuantumNET


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Reference Point

  • Population ~ 1.3 million

  • Literacy: 37%

  • 24 Senior Sec. Schools

  • 3 Higher learning institutions

  • UOG being established

  • Access to PC’s limited


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Current Situation - Connectivity

  • Basic Infrastructure:

    • Countrywide Internet backbone with 12 PoPs.

    • No. 3 in Africa, after S.Africa and Egypt,

    • ISPs connect directly to backbone, no int’t access



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Current Situation - Connectivity

  • Dialup Users:

    • 1997: <150

    • 2000: Total may be 3000 - 5000 people with access (due to sharing), <100 in rural; 120 access lines


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Current Situation - Connectivity

  • Senior Secondary Schools with access:

    • 6 -10 in GBA, 2 in Provinces, all dialup

  • Higher Educational Institutions:

    • 2 with full connectivity: GTMI & MDI

    • Others on dialup like UoG, Gambia College, GTTI, RDI


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Current Situation (connectivity contd.)

  • Research Centers:

    • 1 with full connectivity: MRC (Fajara & Farafenni)

  • NGOs:

    • Virtually all on dialup, UNDP on full link.

  • Hotels and Travel agents:

    • All, on dialup.

  • Gov. Mins & Depts.:

    • All in GBA, on dialup.

  • Cyber-Cafes:

    • about 10 in 18 months, all in the GBA! 40% Gambians


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Current Situation - Cost

  • Investment:

    • Before:~$50, 000 for X.25

    • After:Total Invest probably >US$2M mainly by UNDP< GAMTEL & QuantumNET.

  • Dialup Charges:

    • Before: ~10cents/minute + traffic

    • After: $17 unlimited access + ~2 cents/minute telephone charges

  • Leased Charges:

    • Before: Not applicable

    • After: $1,500/month for 64K $3000/month for 128K


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Current Situation - Capacity building

  • Training:

    • Before: few indigenous personnel with knowledge

    • After: Over 20 personnel from potential ISP's trained on Internetworking through IIA

  • Equipment:

    • Before: X.25 switch

    • After: Cisco routers, access servers, Suns, etc


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Current Situation - Key players

  • Gov. Dept. of State for Works & Comm.

  • UNDP

  • GAMTEL

  • Private ISP

  • Private Sector - small businesses especially

  • NGOs, EDU sector, include research institutions


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Issues & Constraints

  • KEY ISSUES:

    • Policy and Regulation

    • Connectivity & Costing

    • PARTNERSHIP & Advocacy - awareness (I-Week)

    • Innovation & good choice of ICT deployment

    • ICT Curriculum and Fast Track programs


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Issues & Constraints

  • Very Low PC penetration:

    • figure not known

  • Low telephone density:

    • provinces especially

  • Very low Computer literacy level:

    • determined by school literacy

  • Electricity problems:

    • especially outside GBA: many fear to install PC’s


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Issues & Constraints

  • ISP operational cost too high:

    • 64k connection at ~$16,000 pa and Licensing fee ~US$4,000 pa, running costs (electricity, salaries, security).

    • Low Market base, Revenue Collection, No customer roaming

  • High PC costs:

    • due to import tax, etc.

  • Non-ISP Host Connection too high:

    • Gamtel charges same rate applied to ISP at $16,000 pa, Special concession 60% discount given to EDU

  • Low Digital resources:

    • little online data.


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Recommendations & Strategies

  • Gov. DOS W&C finalize Internet policy issues in NACIP currently in draft

  • Reduction in Tariffs

  • Advocacy: more for Internet on public media (I-WEEK 2000, ISOC Gambia Chapter)

  • Introduce IT education in schools


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Recommendations & Strategies

  • DOS W&C set clear-cut deliberate policies:

    • DOS W&C institute different boards and working groups for ICT development.

    • Policy on digitalization of Gov. offices and public data in key institutions: health, finance, etc

    • Academic institutions be empowered to take charge of Internet administration

    • 0% tax on IT imports for EDU purposes


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Recommendations & Strategies

  • Differential tariff structure, to encourage more host connection and thus demand.

  • Deploy inexpensive sharing technologies e.g. Proxy routers, Domain Mail software for schools and training centers, etc. all free with Linux and other packages.

  • ISDN connection: alternative, can be cheaper for Small businesses.


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Recommendations & Strategies (Cont’d)

  • Our current facility came as a result of UNDP GoG. Partnership in IIA project

  • ISPs work in partnership with NGOs: to deliver services in rural areas, both benefit.

  • Technology Programs on GRTS and radio stations

  • Creation of working groups who can co-ordinate these kind of activities and help build capacity especially for CONTENT development


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Conclusion

  • The way forward

    • Commitment & dedication of all key players to ensure that Internet is accessible and affordable to everyone


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