The ISP challenges of life in Liberia

I’m back in my second home – Liberia – after a lovely month-long holiday in the ‘lucky country’. Must say that i’m getting better at planning and managing this blue sky journey between the 2 homes. I depart Oz on Monday midday and arrive back on a Wednesday evening with time to unpack the suitcase and have a good night’s sleep. Thursday passes with a series of greetings and welcome back conversations, Friday in a blur of sorting thru nearly 1,000 emails, and then its time for THE WEEKEND!!! No jetlag, no drama, and not too much work!!

I had aspirations of getting internet set up on my new netbook, but that won’t be possible until Monday. I have a choice of $45/month for 512 small-bytes or $107/month for 2mb capacity with LibTelCo. Is it going to be worth $1200 for the year to have faster internet capacity??? ISP’s are not cheap in Liberia…and they’re not fast either! Options with Commium,  CellCom and Lonestar will be more expensive and slower. Yes, it is true that in Liberia it can still take an overnight session to up-grade iTunes, or other small programmes, and often the net is not even fast enuff to allow gmail chat to work!  Wot to do. That is the reality of the situation we face. This is West Africa and there is just no ISP here that compares with ISP-rich opportunities available in other countries, even those in other parts of Africa.

But, I can’t go another year without internet at home – internet that will be free of a ‘nanny net’ that blocks sites like skype, flickr and wordpress (blocked from the work computer). I want to have time to edit my fotoz and then post them online and share with friendz. One essential element of life overseas is having the technology to keep in touch with people all over the globe. Its not possible to imagine life without all the social networking options that exist these days. Its even more important when you are separated from loved ones because u live overseas and can’t just pop in and see someone for a coffee. For that reason i’m very happy to have my new iPhone which actually allows me to use wi-fi in some of the restaurants in Monrovia. That’s progress…but i still want to have something @ home so i don’t need to go outta the compound if i don’t want to!

In the interest of meeting the PostAWeek2011 goal, I’ll post this now. Hopefully next time u hear from me will be from the comfort of my apartment and with enuff bandwidth to upload fotoz!

Monday UPDATE:

I’m writing this thanks to the newly installed LibTelCo modem stick USD200 for the kit and installation, and $21 for 2 weeks of service. Then when the new month begins, I start the full payment of $48/month. Its slow and I don’t dare open more than 1 page at a time, but it works. So far, so good!

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