Robbing internet charges must end

That internet charges in Malawi have become a nightmare is no longer some creative fiction from Mars. Paradoxically, this is the case in an age in which the positives of digitalization and cyber space continue to outweigh, by far, the traditional means of access to information.

It is a typical tragi-comic affair for the country’s internet service providers (ISPs) – Airtel Malawi, TNM, Broadband Malawi, et cetera – to charge severely in a population whose survival is incalculably grim. According to statistics and information sourced from ISPs’ websites, a Malawian goes to the extent of spending more than K20 000 to simply access mail, Facebook and download one or two songs – if lucky enough that is – on our local music portals.

Now, this is absolute hokum; and very unfortunate for Malawians who are forever faced with marauding economic times. For most, K20 000 to access information when they, on average, earn less than that amount is total mockery.

ISPs, like the rest of businesses in the country, are milking the population to make immeasurable profits while their clients scramble for petty bundles at uphill costs. Sad as it is, it is mind-boggling to see that the Malawi Communication Regulation Authority (Macra) – responsible for the regulation of such – continue to give a deaf ear to the situation as they munch taxpayers’ money in huge sums and lumps.

The pressure group that emerged Monday and is running in town under the ‘Cheap and Affordable Internet Services for Malawians Now’ banner needs to be supported. It is the only way to wake Macra from its slumber, and send signal to the ISPs that they are plying their trade unfairly. The charges have become, to use a better word, nightmarish.

It was even more interesting for the group to suggest protests in case their demands were not met. Yes, the issue is no laughing matter. The robbing internet charges must stop.

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12 thoughts on “Robbing internet charges must end”

  1. Chendele says:

    ISP service also leaves alot to be desired

  2. Nyambitoni says:

    Spot on Zebron, if this was about Mphwiyo or DPP, there could have been more than 30 comments. Very surprising bearing the fact that they have to use internet to post their rubbish comments on the same. No wonder most of them just comment during their week using office internet. Internet is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. we should be having free wi-fi hotspots in our so-called cities. internet charges are outrageously ridiculous, we got bills to pay, rentals, water and electricity bills! being the poorest nation on planet earth, internet, fuel should also be the cheapest. on the contrary we are being squeezed right, left and centre!

  3. Peter Nkosi says:

    Sorry, but I do not see that an ordinary individual needs to spend K20000 each month to access the internet.

    For K5800 I get 2Gb over 30 days from Airtel; TNM has the same deal for K5600, If I am careful then 2 Gb is more than enough, and in fact in the last few days before the bundle expires I end up squandering the balance on drivel just to use it up.

    I use the firefox browser, along with some addons which cut out a lot of unnecessary stuff when downloading webpages:

    –> ImageBlock, which blocks images from downloading. You can toggle it on and off from a button thingie, so can easily download a photo if it seems that it may be interesting,

    –> NoScript, which can be set up to prevent unnecessary scripts from running. I do not understand this at all, but it does save some bits ‘n bytes from downloading.

    –> Something which I cannot mention, otherwise this comment will not pass moderation.

    I do not download videos unless I have Mb left at the end of the 30 days. When you think about it, most videos are not worth paying for. Who really cares if some guy gets his penis stuck inside something which it had no business being in.

    For emails, I use the old Outlook Express. It checks all my accounts in a few seconds, and uses few bytes if there is nothing to download.

    BTW: Why can I not access Nyasa Times from Malawi directly through TNM or Airtel. Why am I having to use a proxy server (via another addon).

  4. TheTechGuy says:

    We don’t have the infrastructure yet…and we are sharing bandwidth from maybe one ISP, Skyband. Wait until airtel becomes an ISP on its own and introduce 4G LTE…we’re heading in that direction…

    1. TheTechGuy says:

      We need more ISPs…with large bandwidth

  5. Peter Nkosi says:

    Sorry, but I do not see that an ordinary individual needs to spend K20000 each month to access the internet.

    For K5800 I get 2Gb over 30 days from Airtel; TNM has the same deal for K5600, If I am careful then 2 Gb is more than enough, and in fact in the last few days before the bundle expires I end up squandering the balance on drivel just to use it up.

    I use the firefox browser, along with some addons which cut out a lot of unnecessary stuff when downloading webpages:

    –> ImageBlock, which blocks images from downloading. You can toggle it on and off from a button thingie, so can easily download a photo if it seems that it may be interesting,

    –> NoScript, which can be set up to prevent unnecessary scripts from running. I do not understand this at all, but it does save some bits ‘n bytes from downloading.

    –> Something which I cannot mention, otherwise this comment will not pass moderation.

    I do not download videos unless I have Mb left at the end of the 30 days. When you think about it, most videos are not worth paying for. Who really cares if some guy gets his penis stuck inside something which it had no business being in.

    For emails, I use the old Outlook Express. It checks all my accounts in a few seconds, and uses few bytes if there is nothing to download.

    BTW: Why can I not access Nyasa Times from Malawi directly through TNM or Airtel. Why am I having to use a proxy server (via another addon).

  6. Edwin Bright says:

    Sign yoti we stil hv a long way to go. Have you noticed that abuse of internet has contributed to finding our way on the global map as the poorest. Zoona nkhani zake zikhale za FB Twitter and music downloads? Enanso mwina zithunzi zolawula. If thats the case ISPs charges are justified so that we start concentrating on things that will lift our nation from the dungeon of poverty. We have done those things for a long time. Ambiri sizinaathandize mmalo mwake zaaononga.

  7. zebron says:

    Reposting my comment!
    This is all down to the Malawian mentality. If this story was on politics, DPP, PP, MCP, some scandal in area 18, there would be tonnes of comments here. Nyasatimes, you must also take your share. Nyasatimes does not put these stories with big banner/first pagers. It’s the priorities and interest which have left Malawians so inept to put efforts/investments where they would drive the economy. Unless Malawians change their mentality, the prices of important services like Internet will keep going up. Look at the current government’s strategy and governance structure, there is very little mention/vision about improving the technology infrastructure. Having worked in the west for over a decade and at the heart of major corporations and the public sector, Western governments have put invested efforts and energy in technology. Unless we get someone in the current DPP government who has vision to improve and enhance technology, the country is light years away from developing. They can play their political games through fertiliser subsidies, Iron sheets, cement etc. If these cannot be backed up by better technology systems that’s why there’s corruption and inefficiencies in deliveries. There’s no proper governance and strategy supported by efficient technology in entire the supply chain. I wish someone in the government read this. Too many governments in Malawi have come and gone – they have all been dwelling too much on quick short term fixes to gain the political mileage. Can someone in the current government with some big balls wake up and lay out a long term strategy to improve the technology infrastructure?

  8. LiveWithinYourMeans says:

    Just live within your means. If you cannot afford to go on the internet then go without it, Simple. Just like 80% of the population. Same applies to mobile phones in general.

    1. Robert says:

      Would you say the same things, if it were the fuel prices or the food prices or prices for electricity? Live within you means, okay, I understand. But when living within you means means not to be able to develop, then it’s time for change.

  9. where are Malawians? says:

    malawi is a nightmare in communication! Imagine some people in UK paying only £16, about 11,000mk for whole month and accessing internet 24/7 be it skype, fb, tweeting, downloading etc! yet in malawi, such an amount is spent within minutes! incredible!

    HOW IS THIS HAPPENING MACRA OR OUR IT EXPERTS? WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Comments are closed.