Internet black out in Bamenda: Wealthy organizations resort to satellite as people rush to border zones in East Cameroon

Libom Li Likeng
Since the 17 of January 2017, internet users in the North West and the South West regions have been deprived of connections with service providers simply telling customers through short message services that the situation is beyond their control.
Although government has not claimed responsibility for the action, allegations are rife that the action was executed by the Cameroon Telecommunication following instructions by the Minister of telecommunications, Libom Li Likeng.
This allegation however has been given credence by messages put out by internet providers where they simply distanced themselves from what had happened claiming it was due to circumstances beyond their control-an obvious reference to their contractual obligations to comply with certain instructions by the public authorities.
These allegations according to observers are not unconnected to relentless efforts by the government to check the “abusive use of the social media” and to “limit discussions on the Anglophone problem”.
This unfortunate situation has crippled business and administrative activities in Bamenda with the negative effects valued at millions of frs CFA daily.
This has however pushed some well to do organizations to resort to the installations of satellites while individuals and smaller organizations have resulted to visiting border towns of French Cameroon especially the west region to access internet.
Speaking to The Median newspaper, the Branch Manager of one of the Banks here in Bamenda said after about a week of waiting with no iota of hope as to when the internet services were to be reinstated, his bank had to resort to installing the satellite for communication with other branches so as to satisfy their customers.

“Although the installation of the satellite was very costly we did not have a choice as we had to satisfy our customers and that cannot be done without constant communication with other branches” observed the Manager who opted not to be named regretting that the government and their internet provider has not explained to them what is happening.
On the other hand, individuals and other organizations have resorted to paying transport as much as FCFA 1000 to neighboring Babajou in the West region to access the internet for personal, administrative and business purposes.
“Twice a week, since internet services were suspended, I travel to Babajou to read and reply messages for my organization” observed KumCollete, a communication Officer in one of the international Non GovernmentalOrganisations in Bamenda bemoaning the extra cost and risk she has to incur for such transactions.
From Banks to Money transfer agencies just like small and big businesses and even individuals, the general cry is that government should do something about the internet connections, and fast too..

Source:The Median Newspaper

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