Poor networks affect work-from-home order in Rwanda

Wednesday April 8 2020

People working from home as directed by the

People working from home as directed by the government cliamed Internet connectivity is weak. PHOTO | INTERNET 

Currently, both public and private workers are expected to work remotely unless they provide essential services.

Service providers including banks have been instructed to process online transactions while government agencies provide digital services.

However, Internet service providers have come under intense pressure, and are struggling to meet increasing demand with more users complaining about slow Internet. Others complain that their network is constantly disconnected.

While Rwandans are presented with both options of the third generation (3G) and the Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) of connectivity services, Rwanda Utilities Regulation Authority figures’ indicate the rapid increase of subscription to the 4G mobile-based services, both options are not helping to the satisfactory level of the users.

“Since the lockdown, the connectivity is poor, I keep switching between 3G and the 4G line, but they have been very slow and the connection is unstable,” Dieudonne Dusabimana, a special needs’ education specialist officer of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in Rusizi district told Rwanda Today in the phone interview.

Currently, users continue to lodge complaints to service providers directly online with some calling for better internet at a higher price.

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“I have switched back to 3G from 4G because of its’ poor connectivity, it would be even better for us if you perfection the speed of Rwf6, 000 pack and increase the price up to Rwf10, 000,” Theodore Ndabamenye posted on one of the 4G retailer’s platform.

On top of the internet users’ complaints, the retailers of Korean Telecommunication Rwanda Networks (KTRN), the solo 4G Internet service provider recently started notifying customers that is reducing promotional packages which were affordable for most users.

For instance, the speed-based popular and affordable Joy pack, which cost up to Rwf6, 000, which expires after a month which comes with a relatively better internet connection and tethering option has been stopped.

“Dear Mango Joy pack subscriber, we would like to inform you that your Internet speed is limited and sharing or Hotspot is almost blocked,” the message to the one of the subscriber reads.

Speaking to Rwanda Today, Elijah Iragaba, chief technical officer at KTRN, said following the introduction of the speed-based products, which expire after a certain period, there was a rapid uptake of the 4G products, which has exceeded the installed capacity.

However, KTRN plans to upgrade and improve the quality of 4G LTE country wide the process, which expected which is expected to be complete by June.

However, KTRN also blames retailers for failing to explain to new customers their internet packages.

The recent figures from Rwanda Regulatory Agency (RURA) indicate that the 4G Internet subscriptions have increased to 76,274 in June 2019 from 28,602 subscribers in the previous year.

Patrick Nyirishema, the Director General of RURA said that the internet usage has grown but the issues in connectivity cannot be solely associated with working from home.

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