INTERNET FOR DEVELOPMENT By: Sankung Sawo May 2000
PresentationFramework • Brief background of ICT in the Gambia • Achievements : ICT infrastructure, services • Key Players & issues: ICT based economy • Constraints : Education and SBCs • Way Forward : strategic Deployment • Conclusion and Recommendations
Brief background :DataServices • 1992-1993 : GAMTEL rolled out X.25 network in GBA and introduced BT information services • 1993 : BICI pioneered X.25 WAN in GBA • 1995: GAMTEL introduced CompuServe Services with limited internet access. • 1996: Delphi Internet services introduced • Oct. 1998:2MBps Full Internet backbone nationwide , with 2 ISPs operational.
Whathas been Achieved • Basic Inftrastructure: Countrywide Internet backbone with 12 PoPs. No. 3 in Africa, after S.Africa and Eqypt. • All News papers hosted: but none has a website. • DialUp USERs:1997 <150, 2000: ~2000 (<20 in rural). Total may be 3000 - 5000 people with access. • Schools with access: 4 to 6 in GBA, 1 provinces • Academic centers with Full connection: 2, GTMI & MDI . • Research Centers: 1 (MRC, Fajara & Farafenni)
What has been Achieved (cont.) • NGOs: virtually all on dialup, UNDP on full link. • Hotels and Travel agents: All, on dialup. • ISPs: 2, Quantum & GAMTEL • Gov. Mins & Depts. All in GBA, on dialup. • CyberCafes:: about 8 in 18 months! • Total Invest: probably >US$2M , mainly by GAMTEL & Quantum.
KEY PLAYERS: Gov. DOS W&C GAMTEL UN & NGOs Private Sector - small businesses especially EDU sector, include research institutions KEY ISSUES: Policy and Regulation Connectivity & Costing PARTNERSHIP & Advocacy. Innovation & good choice of ICT deployment. ICT Curriculum and Fast Track programs. Key Players & Issues:
CONSTRAINTS :Blocks & BottleNecks! • Very Low PC penetration: figure not known • Low telephone density: provinces especially • High dialup tariff:: fixed pay at ~$17 unlimited and connection charge ~US$1/hr. • Very low Computer literacy level: determined by school literacy. • Electricity problems: especially outside GBA; many fear to install PC.
CONSTRAINTS :Blocks & BottleNecks! • ISP operational cost too high: 64k connection at ~$16,000 pa and Registration ~US$4,000 one time. • Free Web Mail competition: less user registration • 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, However EDU connection at ~50% through UNDP up to Oct 2001.. • Congestion: on dialup lines happen often now. • Low Digital resources: little online data.
THE WAY FORWARD:Strategies & Focus • Gov DOS W&C revise policy and regulation on ICT, more conducive. • Tariffs: slice all by Jan 2001. • Advocacy: more for internet on public media • Technology Deployment: affordable Internet packages
STRATEGIES on key issues: 1 -Policy & Regulation • DOS W&C set clear-cut deliberate policies: to achieve dream goals. • 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
STRATEGIES on key issues:2 - Connectivity & Costing • Differential tariff structure, to encourage more host connection and thus demand. • Deploy inexpensive sharing technologies eg Proxy routers, Domain Mail software for schools and training centers, etc. all free with Linux and other packages. • ISPs implement local Roaming , to reduce congestion effect. • ISDN connection: alternative, can be cheaper for Small businesses.
STRATEGIES on key issues:3 :- Partnership & Advocacy • 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 • Creation of an academic research group who can co-ordinate this kind of activities. • GPO with Gamtel: can deliver datagram Email and sound files to rural users.
STRATEGIES on key issues:4:- Innovation & good choice of ICT • Low Cost PCs:NetPCs at <$700, recycled PCs. • Network rather than Standalone: to use low cost sharing technologies, like Proxy routers, free Linux PC software, etc. • CDROM media : 650MB readily available; CD-RW writers cost <$1000, whole library! • Streaming Audio : for schools and radio stations • Laptop PC on Car battery: DC power possible.
STRATEGIES on key issues:5:- ICT Curriculum and Fast Track programs. • Internet: was created by academic community but developed by commercial enterprise into what it is today. • Immediate in all Schools: introduce IT in all schools and use recycled PCs , etc. • Vocational and Other Training Institutes develop programs to train en masse, especially Quantum and Gamtel GTMI..
Conclusion & Recommendations • The Internet Society Mission Statement reads: “To ensure the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for thebenefit of all people throughout the world”. • Internet is for information access and sharingIT resources - including human capacity. Its success is therefore dependent on CONTENT and thus we must develop it.
Conclusion & Recommendations • All of us must be committed and dedicated to make the Internet more affordable and resourceful, especially for 2020 initiative. • We owe it to our children and humankind to ensure that our culture, values, and everything achieved here goes into digital record. • Play a vital role in the African Internet Society Initiative (AISI) signed at the Conference of African Ministers in May 1996.
Conclusion & Recommendations • GOG and Gamtel revamp the current Internet tariff structure - make it affordable and open. • GOG launch a Situation Analysisof ICT and Internet services in the Gambia - business tool. • DOS W&C launch a campaign for Partnership in Internet development in the Gambia. • GOG embark on ambitious digitalization now. • Launch an all Schools connection initiative - using recycled PCs, local & international.