Facebook Becomes Uganda’s Internet Plug

By CultureBanx Team

  • Facebook connects remote parts of Uganda to high speed internet

  • Ugandans must pay $0.05 per day to use Facebook

Facebook (FB -3.00%) has laid 500 miles of fiber wires in northwest Uganda to provide millions of people with connectivity infrastructure. It’s expanded the isolated northwest of this East African nation’s network capacity by providing faster internet access.

Why This Matters: The Ugandan cable project is the largest one Facebook has helped construct on the continent, in partnership with Bharti Airtel’s Ugandan unit and Mauritius based Bandwidth & Cloud Services Group. Facebook has 131 million monthly active users in sub-Saharan Africa. Right now Ugandans must pay $0.05 per day to use Facebook.

The company already operates its Free Basics program in 26 African countries, which is a skeleton of popular internet services for users in less economically developed countries. This move comes as Facebook’s user growth slows in developed markets like the U.S. and Europe. New fiber cables allow the mobile first country to connect via 4G service, which improves users’ ability to download and stream quickly. More than 42% of Ugandans have a mobile phone, according to the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association.

Uganda has about 23.6 million mobile phone subscribers, 17 million of whom use the internet

Uganda has about 23.6 million mobile phone subscribers, 17 million of whom use the internet, Reuters reported. Facebook is trying to get people in the country onto a faster internet system that will plug more of sub-Saharan Africa into the global economy. The social network said this could also lead to cross-border connectivity to neighboring countries.

Situational Awareness: Back in the summer, Uganda’s government imposed a user tax on social media access. Supposedly, the tax was implemented to fund public services, although critics consider the move oppressive and aims to stifle political dissent. Some Ugandan users have been using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to get around the tax.

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