Thursday, May 03, 2007


Our bandwidth woes continue. Its like being yanked off the motherly teat and dumped in a padded cell. The cybercafe situation in Abuja is atrocious. Cool Cafe won't allow you to use Outlook with your laptop (somehow they've disabled it) and smells of body odour (some guys camp there and the bathroom facilities ain't too rosy). We ended up at Dolman Networks in Wuse. The speed was 5kps or less. There was a sign saying No Porn and No 419. A hausa guy next to me was surfing pages and pages of blonde tit. We gave up for lack of speed after a while. Before I left, I had to ask the miserable woman in charge (she was surfing for guys on Hi5 with a look of utter boredom on her face) what her definition of pornography was, and whether breast was ok and full nudity was not. She blanked me. May her day end badly.

Bibi and I realise that everything in our lives tips upside down the moment our bandwidth is taken away from us. Having had broadband in the UK since 2002, it has become a utility service in our lives. How scary that our only hope is Globacom's Glo1 submarine cable (given NITEL's seemingly interminable woes), coming on stream in a year or so. Not quite sure what we're going to do till then. I phoned up my ISP today and tried to shake some truth out of them, "come on, spill the beans. Its not really a technology problem at all is it? You don't have the cash to pay for the bulk bandwidth do you?" She went silent. Oh dear.

Meanwhile, anyone with an idea of setting up a cybercaff in Abuja - go forth and prosper. Model it on the Easy Internet model near Tott Court Road - loads of flat screens, business/print services etc. Leave out the photo studio in the corner and the dodgy pies. Have an entirely separate food area so the whole place doesn't stink of food. Ban people with smelly armpits, or force them to wash before entering. Ban porn and the Yahoo boys properly (perhaps keep an EFCC van in the yard just to show you mean business). And make sure you can offer a fat pipe for starved bandwidth beings who are visiting Abuja and used to global standards, and for us poor sods who actually live here.


Bitchy 7:49 pm  

Surely you're not looking in the right places. The Cool Cafe in Lagos is loads better! If memory serves me right, I believe it even has flat screens! Though I'm with you on the dodgy pies point.

You know there are at least a DOZEN companies in Naija (actually I can only speak for Lagos) providing broadband - broaden your horizons and stop being such a cheape' if you want it so bad. Hehehe

Nkem 8:14 pm  

When I tell people that I won't move to Nigeria until there's reliable broadband, they think I'm bluffing. See what I'm saying?

Jeremy 8:40 pm  

Hmmm Bitchy - not sure where you get the idea that there are 12 bb service providers in Nigeria - unless you are thinking of the VSAT option. This costs around 750-1000 dollars per month, and even then you often get pseudo-dedicated bandwidth. In Abuja, the only non-VSAT games in town are Suburban (my current ISP), Startech (which has a bad rep) - both of which provide WIMAX, starting at 100 dollars per month for 64kps. Then you have Multilinks providing CDMA at 70kps for around 120 dollars per month (but it is not wifi compatible). Maybe there are more options in lagos, but I doubt you can get genuine broadband (ie 512kps+) for less than several hundred dollars per month....

The good news is, the ISP is back up!

Uche,  9:06 pm  

LOL!! This was hilarious. I too i'm addicted to broadband and its one thing i can't live without, next to my cell....Technology has its advantages!!

Anonymous,  2:11 am  

..."May her day end badly."

Now who is a market woman, cursing like that?

I am attached to technology like that and I become irrational when am deprived

Jaja 3:23 am  

Port Harcourt isnt doing half bad. Just got this Starcomms wireless. cheap it is. snail-slow manytimes. But no more getting grumpy in cafes, like i used to.

Kevin 8:43 am  

"And make sure you can offer a fat pipe for starved bandwidth beings who are visiting Abuja and used to global standards, and for us poor sods who actually live here."

I suspect what you're experiencing in Abuja is significantly better than global standards, the vast majority of people in the world have no access to anything even remotely approaching broadband.

Anyway, speeds lower than 512 Kbps can be quite managable if you're prepared to do with out webcams, internet radio and similar bandwidth hogs. If you want reliable high speeds you have to pay.

יושה (Yosh) 12:06 pm  

hehehehe, see angst! Thank God for work internet (for now). I've not had to put up with those scenes you described in your post for a good while now.

Good you have your internet back the way, SubUrban seem to have most of these hiccups more often that not...I can count several instances from October last year...

Some interesting presentation on broadband need in Naija... (Right-click, Save-As...)

culturalmiscellany 1:27 pm  

Maybe I should get MrO to contact you. He got 3G BBI. Maybe that would be better for you? I do sympathise. I went to a cyber cafe in Calabar and gave up hope very very quickly as its certainly wasn't cyber, I could have written an email with my toes quicker than the screen loaded. Pathetic!

Jeremy 1:45 pm  

Please do CM. I'm sure he does not have 3G however - the NCC has only just finished selling the licenses. None of the telcos offer 3G yet. The local definition of "broadband" in Nigeria tends to be anything over 56kps

ababoypart2 2:58 pm  

I thought the speeds in Abuja werent that bad. Had a go at Rockview Hotels, and it seemed pretty decent. But then that was a year ago. The more speed one gets the more one wants. My 8MB kinda seems slow to me...Still...Its BT and I havent bothered to find out what the 'real' speed is. Cant imagine having to surf on 64kps. I will go mad!


lol @ 'may her day end badly' i swear i could just imagine ur face as u said that, imagine dat been said in yoruba, funy as hell!!!!!!

Blue 3:31 pm  

Well someone has already talked about Starcomms, they have CDMA that is however not wifi compatible. They also have something they call EVDObroadband, I hear it's quite fast. Incidentally, aside from the installation fee, the CDMA and EVDO cost the same monthly,10k for 24hrs.EVDO is not very accessible though, because you cant use it in every part of Lagos. it's also not wifi compatible.
I use the CDMA, and it's alright, faster than the office bandwith. If you're not looking for wifi then maybe you should try them out, that's if it's available in Abuja.
Having to constantly be on the phone to your ISP can be tiring.

mypenmypaper 3:52 pm  

"The local definition of "broadband" in Nigeria tends to be anything over 56kps" - I feel u, i remember yanning with an Alhaji in Sokoto sometime 2003. We were discussing his setting up a cybercafe. "He asked me: this broadband thing, is it because of the big dish that they call it broadband?" I had to do some mental mathematics to know the next-level to begin my explanation from - before I start talking kbps!

BabaAlaye 4:44 pm  

@mypenmypaper:"He asked me: this broadband thing, is it because of the big dish that they call it broadband?"

That has got to be the funniest thing i've heard all week lol

Aaron Rowe 6:00 pm  

In Lagos, we've had pretty good service from myNetcom for the past year and it's been pretty good. They claim it is 3G UMTS and as far as I can tell, they are telling the truth.

We have the 300kbps Home plan and apart from the strict 4GB data allowance, and the occasional temporary glitch . It's been very good. I can't remember it going off-line for more than a few hours.

Coverage is not that great though so it's not suitable for everyone.

Aaron Rowe 6:11 pm  

As for the porn/419 stuff, how about taking digital passport photos of every user and putting a big plasma screen at the front of the shop which streams data from the proxy server about what each user is doing.

Run that through some filter scripts to look for suspicious activity.

Jeremy is loading (porn)
Ola is sending his 15th email through (419?)
Ade has loaded 5000 pages in the last hour (email harvesting?)

these messages along with the appropriate photos.

Jeremy 6:16 pm  

Aaron you may consume your porn at, but really its a little Page 3 for me. I'd rather be at for something a little more naturalistic!

Lola 12:45 pm  

HaHa...once I made the mistake of looking for a cyber cafe that actually works, and fast, in Abuja. That trip took me to many locations and ended up at Sheraton where I was told something ridiculous like 15min for 300 naira or something like that, i just remember laughing at the guy. It seemed like the service was fast there though. Abuja is a special city...

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