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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :