Scott Hanselman

The Internet in Zimbabwe is collapsing

September 22, '06 Comments [4] Posted in Africa
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It's getting very hard to email folks in Zim lately...here's why:

"Zimbabwe's international satellite link has been cut off after the national telephone company failed to pay a $710 000 (about R5,4-million) debt in a move that experts warn could spell the collapse of the Internet in the country.

The managing director of Tel-One, the country's sole fixed line phone company, told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that the company had been disconnected from the key Intelsat link.

He added that Tel-One was rerouting Zimbabwe's Internet traffic through other means, resulting in a service slowdown. There are around 500 000 Internet users in the country of 11,6 million people."

Zimbabwe is neck-and-neck with Iraq on economic matters:

Zimbabwe is in its sixth year of economic recession, marked by inflation of more than 1200 percent, acute shortages of foreign currency, fuel and medicines, as well as spiralling poverty and social hardships.

That 1200% inflation number isn't a typo. It was close to 2300% for a while.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Friday, September 22, 2006 11:11:21 AM UTC
Sadly I'm sure Robert Mugabe doesn't care a whit. What brutal dictator wants his subjects having Internet access?

The World Bank's report on doing business in Zimbabwe offers some interesting insight as well:

http://www.doingbusiness.org/ExploreEconomies/?economyid=208

SP
Friday, September 22, 2006 2:49:51 PM UTC
"That 1200% inflation number isn't a type." Should that be typo? ;)
Jason
Friday, September 22, 2006 3:14:16 PM UTC
Yeah, Zimbabwe is scoring pretty poorly in the dictatorial races of late - as in the bottom 3.

http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=72&release=403

Freedom of information is typically not high on dictators' priority lists...
Friday, September 22, 2006 6:19:10 PM UTC
Par for the course, I'm sure that suits Mugabe and his cronies. The less the outside world knows the better as far as they're concerned. BTW, did you catch Samantha Power's article in The Atlantic a few years ago (reprint at Kennedy School of Gov't):

www.ksg.harvard.edu/news/opeds/2003/power_kill_country_am_1203.htm

She was also a guest on the late WBUR radio program The Connection talking about it:

www.theconnection.org/shows/2003/12/20031211_a_main.asp

Unbelieveable, it's three years later and things have actually gotten worse.
Mark
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.