Data and Voice call is considered to be expensive for education and business purposes in Sierra Leone. Many activists, bloggers, online subscribers, mobile users have raised concern over the high-rate of internet subscription across the country.
“You’ll pay huge sum of money to have access to internet for online communication that supports education and business opportunities“, a subscriber complained to me.
For example, 500mb for a month would cost Le 65,000, which is about $9, 10GB would cost Le 500,000 which is about $68. Come to think of this, in Nigeria, 3GB monthly subscription is around 2,000 Naira which translates to Le 30,000 in Sierra Leone. In Ghana, you will get a 1.5 GB for as low as 5 GH Cedis which is slightly above Le 10,000.
Information available to me indicates that for a total population of 6, 592,102 only 2.4% of Sierra Leoneans have access to internet.
If the government is to support free education, it has to begin with the internet! The internet is indeed a gateway to endless opportunities. There is more our kids, pupils and students will gain from the classrooms if they have access to the internet daily! The internet is limitless in terms of supporting quality and effective education as well as promoting small businesses and making life comfortable.
If Internet subscription in Sierra Leone was cheaper, more kids would join online classes for free, transportation would become cheaper with as transport operators such as Uber will be attracted, most restaurants in Freetown would run fast food services, you will stay at home and buy commodities online and have them deliverered at your door step.
On YouTube alone you’ll learn about anything which you are curious about; from coding to programming, to learning emerging languages like Chinese you will come across a hub of professionals skilled in any field or discipline.
I want to use this medium to call on or suggest to the government to invest in making the internet cheaper and more accessible for the next generation of young people in Sierra Leone. I am convinced that this government is able to make internet subscription in Sierra Leone cheaper and accessible!
We want to see our students at universities across Sierra Leone scheduling and selecting lecture classes online at a cheaper cost!
We want to see more young people running innovative small businesses such as Uber transport services in Freetown, Fast Food Restaurants, On line Shops to name but few.
We want to see young talented coders, programmers in our primary school settings across Sierra Leone!
This dream is not far from becoming a reality if the government makes a huge investment in scaling down the high rate of internet subscription in Sierra Leone.
As of august 11th 2017 these are mobile subscription prices for internet data bundle from a key service provider.
3MB New Bundle- Le 450
10MB Old Price Le 2,500 New Price Le 1,400
75MB New Bundle – Le 8,400
50MB Old price Le 9,000 new Price Le 4,500
150MB Old Price Le 11,250 New Price Le 10,000
200MB New Bundle- Le 15,000
250MB Le 45,000 New price Le 24,000
500MB Old price Le 67,500 new Price Le 35,000
1GB Old Price Le 112,500 New Price Le 60,000
3GB old Price Le 270,000 New Price Le 125,000
The question now is if prices are going down, why is it not being reflected in the speed of the Internet that is being dished out by the many service providers to subscribers?
There is a dire need for government to investigate this now to find out why it is so and establish the necessary corrective measures for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans.