It’s time to bust a myth around the quality of internet connection in Rwanda. I held on to my belief that it’s awesome for as long as I could (it certainly used to be very good – in the About me tab you will read that it was faster here than in South Africa – well, it really was, two years ago). Well, it’s time to stop fooling myself and face reality: it’s not that awesome at all.
We’ve been struggling with internet from the start but we blamed the location of our house on all the troubles we had with connectivity: it’s in a valley which I call the Internet Black Hole. It’s enough to walk up the hill and everything suddenly works much faster! However, it appears that this is not the only problem. Rwanda prides itself in 4G internet but if you get 3G, you should be happy. At home, I usually only have 2G on my phone, and in the office 3G sometimes kicks in, but 4G hardly ever appears… As far as WiFi is concerned, we’re currently using a SIM card which we put in a router and top up with an internet pack (there is no unlimited internet option; 90GB for 30 days costs ca. USD50, or GBP40). It was also quite a challenge to find the right place in the house for the router as some corners are literally black holes and nothing works there. We had a fibre optic cable laid out on our street a couple of months ago but the cheapest package (with download speed of max. 10 Mbps, and upload – max. 5 Mbps) is ca. USD85 per month (GBP65), plus installation cost of USD60 (GBP45), so we decided to give it a miss. Generally, we are able to watch Netflix and YouTube but it depends on the time of day, and whether it rains for example, or whether there is a massive conference taking place in Kigali, with delegates using up all of the internet in town 😉 I have to say, this big drop in the quality of our connection only happened about 3 months ago, it was better before. I suppose the demand is higher than the capacity of the local servers. Well, Rwanda has the ambition to become the Singapore of Africa, and it already calls itself the ICT Hub of the continent, but I think it still has quite a long way to go 😉
I’ve just done the speed test: download 1,5 Mbps, upload 0,1 Mbps, ping time 270 ms. The average download speed in the UK is 36,2 Mbps, and upload is 4,3 Mbps. I suppose it’s a miracle I’m able to publish anything at all on this blog! 😀