Saturday, September 06, 2008

Noband Nigeria

While many parts of the world are witnessing ever faster and cheaper internet access, the reverse seems to be happening in Nigeria. Our ISP, suburban, is getting slower and slower. The service for the past few days has been dreadful - unusably slow. For the privilege of 0.5kps and hours and hours of 0.0kps, we pay approx 45 pounds per month (85 dollars). They never call/email to explain and apologise. What they did do was send an email to all their customers yesterday explaining that they were now going to add tax to our bills. Worse, its not like you can quit and go with the competition. They are all as bad as each other, especially if you want to run a wifi network off of the access.

One day, Nigeria will have cheap broadband, in Jesus' name Alhamdulilah.

For the moment, it is like a far off mirage, in a hot dusty desert..


gungun 4:26 pm  

hold the faith...

Akin 5:36 pm  

Hello Jeremy,

I cannot begin to understand your pain, but the loss of service for me even when on holiday would be completely untenable.

Living in the Netherlands, I have been on broadband since June 2000 and only lost service for 8 days all together.

That service has progressively improved without prompting from 384/128 to 8152/2048 at little additional cost.

I can only say a loud Amen/Amina to your fervent prayer - if only you fasted a whole week, you will have your miracle. (Only kidding)

Take heart!

Bisola Edun,  10:26 pm  

I use swift networks and I must say i'm mighty pleased with them. Every now and then they have their issues but those are sorted out pretty quickly. 24 hr access is 15750 per month. Customer service is very good too. Don't know if they're in abuja but i could find out for you.

Dami 10:53 pm  

i think you meant Insha'llah or Insha-Allah
meaning- by the grace of god

as, alihamdulilah-means i'm grateful/thankful to god

sonofpaulpry,  9:47 am  

Funny thing is this is still my biggest fear/concern/worry about moving back to 9ja; not having web access.

Anonymous,  3:21 pm  

Come on! This is Nigerian entrepreneurship at its very best, why do you expect a good service, or any hope of customer service? On a less cynical note thats why most of us have two mobile phones, nothing works the way it should. Its all in the mind, mediocrity rules here.

Anonymous,  4:11 pm  

Actually, they are not as bad as each other. Try Direct on pc. Its the fastest. Its also used by most of the corporates and definitely most embassies in ABJ..

Only snag though is that they are pretty expensive.Its about 16000/month for night to morning service and 21000 for full on 24hrs.

Anonymous,  6:54 pm  

Sonofpaulpry, why would lack of internet access be ur greatest concern about moving back to Nigeria? Where do u put security? I am a Nigerian and I have lived in the US for 7 years. I think the bad internet access described by the blogger is terrible and almost unimaginable but I am not sure that will be my greatest concern when I move back.

2plus2,  8:33 pm  

Have you tried NETCOM it's a South African firm and Inunderstand that they are very good.We are in teh process of trying them out. Here in Lagos, COBRANET has just gone loopy

Red Eyes of Fire 10:04 pm  

suburban is owned by a group of guys whose parents had the opportunity to be ministers in an earlier administration. They are mediocres who know not what they are doing. They dont understand the technology. All you need is a mix of fibre + DSL + ATM to implement a national broadband network. Forget vsat.

I had the opportunity of knowing some ministers in the current administration and in 2007, we put forward a health program (telemedicine) for Nigeria through Intel corp. Intel in turn hired Surbuban to implement the links.

They implemented using vsat can you imagine?and the network was down most of the time.

There is little doubt we live in a culture dominated by the mediocre! Today, mediocrity goes very deep, and Nigeria has become one of the most-corrupt country’s on earth, because we're breeding a climate of mediocrity. This is the culture of mediocrity that we have inherited from the past and we continue to adore it. In the normal course of events, companies like surbuban shouldn't exist.

I think it’s about time we started doing things correctly in Nigeria. We should avoid creating the kind of problems facing the power sector. For instance, how can we have a solid industrial base without a functioning and stable network of electricity supply lines that stretch from the power stations generating electricity to the place that the electricity is used? Just imagine the possibilities or where Nigeria would be today, had we gotten the power infrastructure right at the onset!

Kody 10:14 pm  

Jeez - lack of internet access? Slow broadband service? That would be like DEATH to some of you. What is all this stuff about feeling Jeremy's pain, or the issue of internet service being a determining factor in whether to return to Nigeria?
Get a life for goodness sake!

People, its just a bad internet service, the world is not about to come to an end. Am sure Jeremy will get a more reliable supplier eventually..

I just find it amusing how people attach such major importance to things they happily lived without before.

Next you'll be going to rehab for internet addiction...

Anonymous,  11:58 pm  

me myself , am an internet junkie, so i sympathize with your plight.
me sef i go stay in ame for this reason.
i love your blog. keep up the good work.

Anonymous,  10:40 am  

@ red eyes of fire - So much for misinformation. Subarban had varied shareholders at inception and only one of them really had any link with govt. The present MD/CEO is a guy called Bruce Ayonote. Please tell me which Minister we have ever had in Nigeria whose surname is Ayonote?

Jeremy 10:56 am  

Kody: for a country to be globally competitive, bandwidth has to be viewed as a utility, like any other (electricity, gas etc.)

Just as we are condemned to repeat the mantra: until Nigeria has reliable power supply.... so too we have to repeat the mantra: until Nigeria has cheap broadband..

The idea that good quality and affordable internet access is part of some Maslovian higher-end requirement is a nonsense that India and China have both disproved pretty rapidly...

When are the ISPs and the Govt going to get their act together on this?

Red Eyes of Fire 12:06 pm  

@anonymous 10:40am

Ok, those guys have a mediocre presence and despite their mediocre performance, people use them because they are left with no choice considering the fact that our domestic telecom operators all show increased fervor on the future development of mediocre value-added services. No wonder they still dare to charge at ridiculous rates

Perhaps I should have said "surbuban was founded" as opposed to my suggestion on the current ownership structure. All the same, what does Bruce know about telecoms? Rather, what "did" he know about telecoms? Notwithstanding that he can deceive a lot of Nigerians by speaking the language and all the telecom buzz words of today!

There is no question, the present MD/CEO is our very handsome or should I say somewhat charismatic Bruce Ayonote, who is not the sole founder. i.e. going by your "Subarban had varied shareholders at inception". If you do your homework very well, you will establish that the father of one the main founders was a corrupt minister hence the opportunity for their founding and growth.

CodLiverOil 1:27 pm  

(formerly posted as anonymaus)
in answer to your question

"...When are the ISPs and the Govt going to get their act together on this?..."

Answer: How long is a piece of string?

Maybe when a foreign competitor is threatening to sweep all before them to clean up the market, possibly someone will step up to the plate, until then expect the same old ...same old...

archiwiz 9:08 pm  

LOL...Amen ohh...

yemisi ogbe 10:55 am  

I live next door to a company with an open access network. If I sit in my kitchen and position my computer just so, I'm on the internet and its pretty fast. I can't complain...

Anonymous,  4:37 pm  

I know the Suburban guys. Truth is that they have had management/shareholder issues for a while but Jeremy you can be a constructive critic. Try and give them suggestions on how they can improve their service etc.

to the red eye person. you seem to have more personal issues with these folks than professional things. If they are obviously so bad, this is a clear market opportunity for someone like you to provide qualitative service over Suburban's "mediocre"one. The customers will troop to you. Truth is talk is cheap. Until you do something better, shut up!

Red Eyes of Fire 7:41 pm  

@anon 4:37pm

"a clear market opportunity for someone like you to provide qualitative service over Suburban's "mediocre"one."

Upon which infrastructure will one base such service? Upon mediocre infrastructure?

Thanks for the rebuke. You obviously think it is long past time that we all shut up and stop making comments.

I couldn't take you seriously and demonstrate how sily your outpourings have been - nothing but loud and compromised.

Anonymous,  4:31 pm  

Thanks red eyes of fire. The man who waits for perfect conditions never gets anything done.Nigeria is replete with examples of folks who went in there and started stuff despite infrastructural challenges/or "mediocre infrastructure". Folks use ATM machines now despite our epileptic power supply. It is far from perfect but the companies didnt wait for when power supply exists 24hrs before rolling out machines.

If you wont be proactive and if you wont support those who are trying to be despite the obvious obstacles in their path, then keep quiet.
I am not against your making comments but stick to the issues. It is cheap to insert stuff about someone being "handsome" or "somewhat charismatic" but "deceiving Nigerians with buzzwords". How does all your trash talk help to improve Jeremy's bandwith?

'derin,  7:32 pm  

@anon 4.31pm, very well said!

Red Eyes 10:06 pm  

@anonymous 4:31 pm

"...Nigeria is replete with examples of folks who went in there and started stuff despite infrastructural challenges/or "mediocre infrastructure". Folks use ATM machines now despite our epileptic power supply. It is far from perfect but the companies didnt wait for when power supply exists 24hrs before rolling out machines..."

These people are not only sick, they are thieving bas***** and may have got your senses in the oven. Yes! Or would you spend stolen money to purchase a flight ticket for an aircraft built in that manner?

You are encouraging the construction of a roof [of a house] before the foundation and walls.

Go and read the story of the tower of Babel found in the christian Bible which is familiar to many.

My friend, you are awful with that innocent sense of yours but I have shown you the path to glory and hope you would take it.

Now, go get your spending right!

Anonymous,  8:06 am  

uhm... (whisper), red eyes, i'm just not 'getting' your point of view....

Red Eyes 10:54 am  

How can you ever get it (laughter)? Although I forgive your outburst! I know you would like me to blurt everything out at once but you have just to know how to get things going and I sincerely hope you will change your ideas then maybe you will get it. Now if you don't mind, you are standing in my way.(laughter)

Robbie Honerkamp 1:21 am  

It's an old problem. When I came to Lagos in 1999 to set up a wireless ISP, we had plenty of money and fantastic technology, but the guy who owned the company was greedy and clueless about Internet technology. He'd take deposits from customers (we were swamped with new customers after press conferences and public demos) but then not put a percentage of the revenue back into the infrastructure... so we'd never be able to get upgrades to our Internet connection, despite taking on oodles of customers.

When I quit that ISP, I worked with some investors to try and set up a new one. Again, we had fantastic technology plans, but this time we had a budget that everyone involved agreed to adhere to- and the budget included upgrades as we added customers so our service levels wouldn't suffer. But after spending most of 2001 being toyed with by the Ministry of Communications and the NCC, our investor gave up and I moved back to the US.

I love Nigeria. There is no reason a country like Nigeria should have sub-standard communications infrastructure, especially not in this day and age. But greedy businessmen (who are incapable of growing a company and want to take profits nownownow) and greedy government bureaucrats (who only want dash) are conspiring to squash the potential of the country. Again.


PS: I think the main problem is with the ISP owners. I've run the numbers. It's perfectly possible to make great amounts of money in Nigeria's Internet industry while offering excellent service to your customers. It's just that 99% of Nigerian ISP owners aren't truly interested in growing their company.

PPS: This is a big pet peeve of mine if you can't tell. I can go on for hours....

PPPS: But I'll stop now. :)

Anonymous,  7:34 pm  

Red eyes!!! If you know so much about these things why dont you go help out poor Nigerians like Jeremy!!! Have you ever done anything in Nigeria before? do you know how difficult the environment is? By the way I know about the Intel telemedicine project where they wanted to have a link between the national hospital in Abuja and a hospital in a remote town called Bida. How in the world would you expect them to use anything apart from VSAT? excuse me, but this is not the US of A, europe or Japan.and then you vent so much spleen about a corrupt minister funding the company, if thats true, kudos to the minister-giving his hard stolen money to some young nigerians to play ICT with. If we could get all corrupt Nigerians to do that, we should be near millenium goals by now.

All said, its high time these nigerians in the diaspora who feel so patriotic either put their money where their mouths are or simply shut up. we know there is so much electricity, internet, water, healthcare and security wherever you are and we in Nigeria are still luring in the forests. so what are you going to do about it. You even say Suburban should not exist, do you know how many families get their livelihood from such companies? I suppose they should all run into the bush to foray while imperialists like you share tea with your masters in western cafes.

Anonymous,  11:02 pm  

Hi all,

I have had the chance to get the recently launched UGO unit powered by Cobranet and it Rocks and so does the service..... You may wish to test it or at least ask about it as they seem to know exactly what we all suffer from and have an excellent product in my opinion. Packages are many and they have several types of equipment... I am very happy so far!!!!!

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