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City Profiles

Video: Free public Wi-Fi in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

August 27, 2012  »  VideoNo Comment

The days of high-latency satellite Internet are slowly drawing to a close in urban areas. One example is Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea.

Paul Ndiho, of VOA, reports that teenagers are gathering in a park in Malabo, not to just socialize, but to socialize online. For unspecified reasons (his report doesn’t say), free wireless Internet access is available in at least one public park in Malabo. As the narrator finds, youth are eager to access Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. What’s more, the teens aren’t just using laptops and mobiles – they also have tablets and even Apple iPads and MacBooks. Perhaps the core group will soon move to a new location better suited to developing products to fulfill local needs.

Impressively, the rate of Internet penetration (% of those with access) has grown enormously in the past couple of years. According to ITU data, hardly more than 2% of Equatorial Guineans had Internet access as of 2009. After linear growth since 2001, the share of the population using the Internet grew threefold to 6% by 2010. By now it is certainly in the double digits. Equatorial Guinea has much to look forward to: the ACE undersea fibre cable is expected to go live in November 2012.

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