I am a witness of how the Internet evolved in Rwanda. I remember the days when Rwandatel was the sole Internet Service Provider with it’s slow connection that was itself irritably unstable. During that time, I think the highest speed might have been around 30 kbps.
I became happy when mobile technology, pioneered by MTN Rwanda’s GSM, emerged in the country. Even though they brought that deserved technology, I was surprised when Rwandatel attempted to catch up by introducing cellular telephony and even becoming the first operator (before MTN) to bring 3G to the market – not only in Kigali, but throughout the country.
That’s the time when many citizens of Rwanda started enjoying mobile network. It was very fast with Rwandatel’s CDMA technology. But unfortunately, Rwandatel later received a coup de grâce from Rura. It’s with its demise that made MTN Rwanda and Tigo Rwanda stronger, and I’m thankful for that because we have a reliable mobile network.
A few years ago, Rwanda brought the fibre optic network with intentions to make it available everywhere for the public consumption. But until now, I don’t know if there are some people out there – except for governmental institutions and the private sector – who are benefiting from this high-speed connection.
Usually, citizens were supposed to use WiBro modems but the problem is that those modems are limited to Kigali. Even in Kigali, they don’t work in nearly all the locations due to the fact that BSC has never upgraded the modem’s access points, deciding – for unknown reasons – to stick on the access points that were used during the testing phase.
Even if you’re the lucky one living in an area where there’s a signal, it’s probable that you will meet incompatibility wall. The modem is outdated, severely lacks drivers and doesn’t work on Linux, Mac as well as 64-bit Windows. I am wondering why BSC doesn’t look into those issues up to now. In other words, there’s a redundant infrastructure and a high-speed Internet connection used only by a handful of people.
I hope that the government will address those issues with 4G/LTE.
What we need is an Internet connection that universally benefits all the citizens – regardless of where you are and the device you’re connected to. If it’s possible, I would propose that Wi-Fi hotspots be installed across the country so that we be able to use it without those incompatibility issues.
Jean-Paul Gatete, Kigali, Rwanda
Reaction to the story, “4G technology to deliver the broadband promise”, (The New Times, July 9)
Let’s hope 4G/LTE will be different